Fri, Apr 13, 2007 - Page 12 News List

TTV public share offer planned

IT'S A STEAL The proposed price, NT$12 per share, is half the price of NT$24.1 per share that Unique Group offered for a 25.77 percent stake in TTV on Wednesday


After completing its share sale of Taiwan Television Enterprise (TTV) to the Unique Group (非凡國際科技) on Wednesday, the government is planning to offer a 19.46 percent stake in the TV station to the public at NT$12 per share.

The price was set by a committee representing the government after it consulted with a financial advisory service company and Capital Securities Corp (群益證券), said Hsu Hung-lung (許宏隆), executive vice president of Capital Securities, which is managing the sale of shares to the public.

More than 54 million shares, or a 19.46 stake in TTV, will be offered to the general public, Hsu said. The amount does not include the 2.16 percent shares reserved for TTV employees' share options.

The plan is to allow individual investors to subscribe to 3,000 shares, Hsu said by telephone yesterday.

If any shares remain at that point, investors will be allowed to subscribe to another 2,000 shares, Hsu said.

Capital Securities will start the preparatory work in the end of June at the earliest, he said.

The planned price is much lower than the price of NT$24.1 per share that Unique Group offered to win the government's first-stage share sale and purchase a 25.77 percent stake. The floor price was NT$13.5.

The 25.77 percent stake was previously controlled by First Commercial Bank (第一銀行), Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行), Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行), all state-run banks.

Wednesday's sale was expected to bring a total of NT$1.74 billion (US$52.4 million) into the state coffers.

In the second stage or by the end of November at the earliest, the government is expected to divest its remaining TTV shares -- a 21.62 percent stake controlled by the Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) and the Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) -- to the public, Vice Minister of Finance Liu Teng-cheng (劉燈城) said on Wednesday.

But Hsu said it was unclear whether the market value of TTV shares would reach NT$24.1 after the second-stage share sale, as TTV's current finances were not impressive.

Founded in 1962 as Taiwan's first TV station, TTV used to be one of the government's cash cows, but its fortunes declined after cable TV stations joined the local market in 1993.

Hsu declined to provide details on TTV's finances.

Chinese-language media reports say that TTV posted a pre-tax deficit of NT$350 million last year, bringing its total loss for the past six years to NT$1.45 billion.

After the share sale to the public, TTV will apply to list on the Emerging Stock Market (興櫃市場), Hsu said.

It will take TTV some time to be a listed company on the GRETAI Securities Market or the Taiwan Stock Exchange, he said.

Companies must meet certain requirements to be listed on both markets. TTV, which has had a deficit the last six fiscal years, does not qualify.

Hsu said it was hard to estimate when the station would turn around its finances, as the new management team had not proposed a new plan of operations yet.

Additional reporting by Jackie Lin

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