Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITEr WITH AGENCIES

■ Shares up on cautious trading

Shares closed little changed yesterday as early gains triggered by Wall Street's positive reaction to the US Federal Reserve's economic assessment gave way to caution ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, dealers said.

Turnover remained thin, reflecting investor reluctance to follow the US rally after the Fed left short-term interest rates unchanged and indicated the economy remained healthy, with inflationary pressures easing, they said.

The TAIEX closed up 1.90 points at 7,701.54, on turnover of NT$78.85 billion (US$2.4 billion). Decliners led risers 674 to 487, with 226 stocks unchanged.

■ Hotel stock resumes trading

After completing its capital reduction, Formosa International Hotels Corp's (晶華酒店) stock resumes trading on the Taiwan Stock Exchange today at NT$362.18 per share, the highest among tourism-related stocks.

Formosa International said last August that it was cutting its capital by NT$1.56 billion (US$47.5 million) to NT$600 million. The company suspended its shares from trading last Monday to carry out the share conversion and issuance procedure.

Shares of Formosa International closed at NT$108 on the last trading day before the suspension.

The company announced in December that it planned to acquire Domino's Pizza Inc's local and Beijing units. The deal will be closed early this year, it said.

■ Chang Hwa has new president

Julius Chen (陳淮舟), former president of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), yesterday formally took over as president of Chang Hwa Bank (彰化銀行).

Chen said his top priorities were to facilitate communication and strengthen company structure and internal control.

He planned to cultivate more young professionals and set up a reward and promotion system on the basis of transparent evaluation of quarterly and yearly profit and performance.

Meanwhile, Taishin Financial's chief economist Lin Keh-hsiao (林克孝) yesterday took over the Chen's former post as the president of the second-biggest financial group in the nation.

Taishin Financial is the largest shareholder in the state-controlled Chang Hwa, with a 25.5 percent stake. It also controls eight of the bank's 15 board seats.

However, the company is required to offload a 2.5 percent stake in Chang Hwa by June 15, as it failed to meet the capital adequacy requirements set by the financial regulator.

■ Moody's raises Fubon ratings

Moody's Investors Service yesterday upgraded the insurance financial strength rating of Fubon Insurance Co (富邦產險), the nation's largest non-life insurer by market share, to A1 from A2, with a stable outlook.

"The upgrade was based on Fubon Insurance's strong and consistent operating performance of the past few years, which is a result of its prudent underwriting approach and commanding leading position in Taiwan's property and casualty industry," Moody's lead analyst Sally Yim (嚴溢敏) said.

The insurer has built a solid franchise with strong brand recognition, an extensive and diversified distribution network, consistent profitability and good customer service, the report said.

However, its high expense ratio and geographic concentration offset these strengths, it added.

■ NT dollar gains ground

The New Taiwan dollar climbed a second day on speculation a stronger yen would enable the nation's central bank to allow gains without fear of manufacturers losing export competitiveness.

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