Thu, Dec 14, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Yahoo-Kimo buys Wretch stake

Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩), one of the nation's largest Internet portals, announced yesterday that it had signed a contract to purchase shares of Wretch Co (無名小站), Taiwan's largest blog service portal, and would complete the deal in the first quarter of next year at the earliest.

The number of shares to be purchased and the value of the deal were not revealed. It was reported previously that Yahoo-Kimo planned to acquire Wretch for NT$700 million (US$21.52 million).

The brand name and services of Wretch would be preserved and Yahoo-Kimo would further upgrade its services, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Founded in 1999 in the form of a campus bulletin board system at National Chiao Tung University, Wretch has the 26th-highest volume of traffic in the world, according to rankings by independent industry source Alexa.com.

The share purchase demonstrates parent company Yahoo Inc's ambition to tap into the Web 2.0 industry. Yahoo has previously acquired several Web 2.0 companies such as photo-sharing site Flickr.

■ Formosa cuts gas prices

Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), the nation's second-biggest fuel supplier, cut gasoline and diesel prices for the first time in three weeks, matching a move by larger rival Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油).

Domestic wholesale gasoline and diesel prices fell NT$0.30 a liter, effective 9am, Mailiao-based Formosa Petrochemical said in a faxed statement today.

State-run CPC earlier yesterday reduced prices by the same amount, (1.8 percent), reflecting lower international crude oil costs.

CPC introduced the pricing system after it posted a loss of NT$25.4 billion in the first eight months of the year.

Crude oil declined to US$61.22 a barrel in New York on Monday, down 2 percent from US$62.44 a week earlier, on forecasts that milder weather moving into the US would reduce demand for heating fuel.

■ S&P happier over Chunghwa

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) said yesterday that it had placed its "AA-" long-term foreign currency corporate credit rating on Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) on CreditWatch with positive implications.

"The CreditWatch placement reflects Standard & Poor's evolving view of Chunghwa's credit profile, based on the company's very strong financial profile and reduced government ownership," credit analyst Daniel Hsiao (蕭黎明) said in a statement yesterday.

Chunghwa's credit profile may qualify for a higher rating than the sovereign rating on Taiwan (AA-/Negative/A-1+), the statement said.

Resolution of the CreditWatch placement is likely over the next few weeks after S&P clarifies the company's strategy and policies with Chunghwa management, particularly with respect to its overseas expansion and balance sheet structure.

■ Inotera orders from ASML

ASML Holding NV, Europe's largest maker of semiconductor equipment, received an order for machines worth NT$1.39 billion from Taiwan's Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技).

Taoyuan-based Inotera disclosed the purchase with ASML Hong Kong Ltd in a filing with the country's stock exchange yesterday.

ASML is the world's biggest maker of machines used to print circuitry on silicon wafers.

■ NT dollar drops

The New Taiwan dollar lost ground against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, declining NT$0.033 to close at NT$32.522. US$1.061 billion changed hands during the day's trading.

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