Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Share prices hit record high

Taiwan share prices closed at a six-year high yesterday on Wall Street's overnight gains following the US Institute of Supply Management's report that the economy's vast services sector accelerated at a faster-than-expected pace last month, dealers said.

They also attributed the rally in the local bourse to rotational interest driven by expectations of ample liquidity despite a slight correction in the Taiwan dollar.

The weighted index closed at 7,693.33, up 83.43 points -- the highest level since it hit 7,785.62 points on September 5, 2000. The trading range was between a high of 7,697.24 and a low of 7,620.98.

Turnover was NT$114.15 billion (US$3.53 billion).

■ BenQ to raise NT$10 billion

BenQ Corp (明基), Taiwan's biggest cellphone maker, yesterday said the board approved the management's proposal to raise NT$10 billion through corporate bonds and bank loans to improve its financial situation.

BenQ expects to receive NT$5 billion in syndicated bank loans in the first quarter of next year, but it did not have a specific schedule for raising the remaining NT$5 billion in unsecured corporate bonds.

The BenQ bonds would be able to be exchanged into shares of AU Optronics Corp (友達光電).

The handset maker yesterday posted last month's sales at NT$11.9 billion, slightly lower than its NT$12 billion total for October.

BenQ said it planned "to continue making adjustments to headcount and capacity."

■ First Insurance Co rated A+

Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) yesterday affirmed its "twA+" counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings for the First Insurance Co (第一產險) with a stable outlook.

The ratings continue to reflect First Insurance's satisfactory underwriting performance and strong capitalization.

Counterbalancing factors include the company's relatively high-risk investment book and potentially volatile investment returns, said the local arm of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

The company accounted for 4.9 percent of domestic direct premiums written last year and ranked 10th among 22 domestic nonlife companies.

Personal lines of insurance and small to midsize commercial coverage together accounted for about 70 percent of its premiums last year.

■ State mulls bank takeovers

The nation's financial regulator is considering using a restructuring fund to take over the debt-ridden Taitung Business Bank (台東企銀) and Enterprise Bank of Hualien (花蓮企銀) soon, as the two lenders have failed to complete their drawn-out self-bailout programs, sources said yesterday.

The Financial Committee held a closed-door meeting in which the Financial Supervisory Commission reported its handling of seven troubled banks listed for possible takeover by the government's restructuring fund.

As of the end of October, Taitung Business Bank posted a negative net worth of NT$760 million and a bad loan ratio of 22.48 percent while the Enterprise Bank of Hualien registered a negative net value of NT$2.52 billion and 27.92 percent, according to the commission's data.

The restructuring fund may need to pay over NT$10 billion for the takeover of Taitung Business, a source present at the meeting said yesterday.

■ NT dollar strengthens

The New Taiwan dollar strength-ened against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, gaining NT$0.007 to close at NT$32.297.

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