Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Bank plans branch license sale

State-run Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行) intends to sell a maximum of 24 unused branch licenses if the Financial Supervisory Commission grants permission. The company aims to maintain the number of its branches at approximately 300.

While celebrating the launch of its 301st branch on Taipei's Nanjing W Road yesterday, the bank is also evaluating the operational efficiency of its branch network -- the nation's largest -- the Chinese-language Commercial Times wrote yesterday.

The bank is considering merging two branches that are close to each other to maximize each outlet's performance, chairman Hsu Teh-nan (?n) was quoted as saying.

Taiwan Cooperative currently has 6.5 million customers. It commands around 10 percent of the nation's lending market and 9 percent of the savings market.

Shin Kong plans IPO

Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (新光三越), the nation's largest department store chain with 13 branches, is planning an initial public offering (IPO) in Taiwan, scheduled for the first quarter of next year at the earliest.

The move is a bid to help raise funds for expansion in China as the local retail market has already reached saturation, chairman Wu Tung-hsing (吳東興) was quoted as saying in the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday.

Shin Kong Mitsukoshi earned NT$59.7 billion (US$1.82 billion) in sales last year with an earnings per share (EPS) of NT$6.13.

In April it launched its first Chinese branch in Beijing and plans a second outlet in Chongqing.

Analysts predicted that Shin Kong Mitsukoshi could see an IPO price starting at NT$60.

China Steel shares hit record

China Steel Corp (中鋼), Taiwan's largest steelmaker, saw its share price soar yesterday to a record high in Taipei as South Korean rival Posco reported the highest second-quarter profit in two years.

China Steel shares rose 5.2 percent to close at NT$44.2 on the local bourse. Posco, Asia's third-largest steelmaker, said that net income rose 55 percent to 1.11 trillion won (US$1.2 billion) in the second quarter.

Posco shares had their biggest gain since 2002 on July 13 of 9.8 percent as the company bought its own stock to strengthen defenses against possible takeover attempts. Posco stock fell 0.9 percent to 555,000 won in Seoul.

CPC defends Venezuela rights

The state-owned oil company, CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油), is doing everything possible to defend its oil exploration rights in Venezuela, CPC spokesman Tsao Ming (曹明) said yesterday.

The Venezuelan National Petroleum Corporation (VNPC) is planning to buy back oil exploration rights from small investors with a stake of less than 10 percent in any project, he said.

The CPC holds a stake of 7.5 percent in an oil exploration cooperation project with the VNPC, so the CPC is among the investors whose exploration rights are likely to be bought back.

Customs seize pirated Wii discs

The Taipei Customs Office cracked 13 cases of attempted smuggling of pirated optical discs for the video game console Wii between early April and last week, statistics released yesterday showed.

A total of 6,227 Wii DVDs were seized, the tallies showed.

As each disc is sold for between NT$1,500 and NT$2,000, the total value of the pirated products reached at least NT$6 million, customs officials said.

Wii producer Nintendo Co has not yet launched the popular video game console in Taiwan, but fans have purchased the consoles from trading companies.

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