Thu, Aug 23, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Broadcaster plans private stock issue

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eastern Broadcasting Co (東森電視), a cable TV network affiliated with the scandal-ridden Eastern Multimedia Group (東森媒體集團), said it would raise between NT$3 billion (US$91 million) and NT$3.5 billion through a private placement to strengthen its financial structure.

The broadcaster's shareholders yesterday approved a proposal to issue 300 million common shares at NT$10 to NT$15 per share through a private placement within a year.

Eastern Broadcasting will look for no more than 35 investors to buy the shares, the company said in a statement.

Investors that can assist the company's operations and strengthen its competitiveness would be considered first, it said.

Proceeds raised by the issue would be used to pay the company's outstanding loans of NT$2.6 billion, consolidate its financial structure and increase cash flow for operations, Eastern Broadcasting spokesman Chen Cheng-yi (陳正毅) said.

The fundraising will lower Eastern Broadcasting's debt-to-equity ratio from 153 percent at the end of last year to under 100 percent, he said.

The shares are non-transferable for three years. Eastern Broadcasting also plans to apply to trade its shares on the local bourse in 2010, Chen said.

Eastern Broadcasting runs 10 local channels, with more than 1 million subscribers, or 22 percent of the domestic cable TV market. The company also airs shows in the US, Europe and Asia.

Eastern Multimedia chairman Gary Wang (王令麟) was indicted on Aug. 13 for his alleged involvement in several embezzlement scandals.

The indictment has not affected the company's operations, Chen said.

Last year, the Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in parent company

Eastern Multimedia and 12 cable television affiliates. Carlyle holds a 40

percent stake in Eastern Broadcasting, Chen said.

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