■ China Steel invests in Jiangsu
China Steel Corp (中鋼) said yesterday it has taken a 10 percent stake for US$1.5 million in a joint venture led by China's Baoshan Iron and Steel Co (寶山鋼鐵).
The investment in the steel distribution firm in Changshu, Jiangsu Province, was made through China Steel's wholly-owned subsidiary China Steel Global Trading Corp (中貿國際), China Steel vice president Chung Lo-min (鍾樂民) said.
He said Baosteel holds a 45 percent stake in the joint venture, while China's Jiangsu Baixue Electric Appliances Co (江蘇白雪電器) has 30 percent and Van Shung Chong Holdings (萬順昌集團) of Hong Kong owns the remaining 15 percent.
"The new company is scheduled to begin operations in April, providing steel product marketing and distribution channels," Chung said. "It will also engage in steel cutting work on customer demand."
■ FSC tightens oversight systems
The Financial Supervisory Commis-sion (FSC) said yesterday that it would strengthen and make inter-industry conglomerate supervision one of its regular oversight systems in the wake of the Rebar Asia Pacific Group (力霸亞太企業集團) embezzlement scandal.
The Rebar event highlights the significance of corporate governance and the need of conglomerate supervision mechanism, the financial watchdog said in a statement.
The commission has established a task force to cooperate with Taiwan Stock Exchange and over-the-counter bourses' units responsible for the screening of any irregularities of financials, business and share transactions of publicly traded conglomerate affiliates, the statement said.
The conglomerate supervision would be a market-wide measure, not restricted to14 financial institutions, the commission said.
The FSC made the clarification after the Chinese-language Commercial Times reported yesterday that the commission is probing14 banks and insurers whose major shareholders include non-financial institutions or non-listed firms.
Targeted institutions included Taichung Commercial Bank (台中商銀), King's Town Bank (京城銀行), Bowa Bank (寶華銀行), Far Glory Life Insurance Co (遠雄人壽), and Global Life Insurance Co (國寶人壽), the paper said.
■ TSMC opens Indian office
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufac-turing Co (TSMC, 台積電) opened its first office in Bangalore, India, to tap that nation's growing chip-design industry, the company said in a statement yesterday.
"The primary mission is to support existing customers that have design activities in India, and we want to help new fabless design companies in India," TSMC spokesman Tzeng Jinn-haw (曾晉皓) said by telephone.
India is wooing chipmakers and designers to set up operations to help boost technology sales estimated to rise 28 percent this fiscal year. India's information technology sales are forecast to increase to US$47.8 billion for the 12 months ending March 31, from US$37.4 billion a year earlier, according to the National Association of Soft-ware and Service Companies.
■ Forex reserves decline
Taiwan's foreign exchange reserves stood at US$265.97 billion at the end of last month, down from US$266.15 billion in December, the central bank said yesterday.
Although there was a net inflow of foreign capital last month, foreign assets held by domestic investors also increased, thus leading to a slight drop in foreign exchange reserves, it said.
■ NT dollar weakens
The New Taiwan dollar weakened against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, dropping NT$0.001 and closing at NT$32.917. A total of US$744 million changed hands during the day's trading.
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