Fri, Feb 09, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Uni-President buys Wei Lih stake to extend noodle line

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Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), the nation's biggest food company, agreed to buy a 32 percent stake in Wei Lih Food Co (維力食品) for NT$891 million (US$27 million) to expand its range of dry noodles and to help cut manufacturing costs.

"We can coordinate in securing supplies of raw materials," Selina Wu (吳旭慧), Uni-President's public relations director, said by telephone from Taipei yesterday.

``We may also cooperate on expanding in overseas market," Wu said.

Uni-President and Wei Lih have a combined 70 percent share of Taiwan's NT$9 billion-a-year instant noodle market, Wu said.

Uni-President has bought stakes in other companies and agreed to sponsor the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, as it seeks to enter new markets and expand overseas.

Uni-President has sold the NT$642 million in Wei Lih debt it bought in 2005 to an asset management company, Wu said today, without elaborating.

The Wei Lih stake follows Uni-President's acquisition of 20 percent of Tait Market & Distribution Co (德記洋行), a distributor of groceries, personal-care products, beverages and wines, announced last November.

Uni-President will be the sole supplier of instant noodles to competitors and staff at the 2008 Olympics, the games organizing committee said on Sept. 13.

It was the first Taiwanese company to be picked as a sponsor of the games. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Shares of Uni-President was unchanged at NT$22.80 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday after gaining as much as 0.2 percent.

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