Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 11 News List

TSMC to consider buyback: report

By Kevin Chen And Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) may discuss a share buyback plan at a board meeting today, estimated to cost the company a maximum NT$50 billion (US$1.55 billion), a report said yesterday.

Hsinchu-based TSMC, the world's largest made-to-order chipmaker, will purchase up to 50 million of its shares owned by Royal Philips Electronics NV by the end of the year, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

TSMC spokesman Tzeng Jinnhaw (曾晉皓) yesterday declined to say if the company's board was scheduled to meet today or whether it would discuss the share buyback plan if a meeting took place.

"We have no comment on the newspaper report," Tzeng said by telephone.

On Oct. 25, TSMC chief financial officer Lora Ho (何麗梅) told investors in a conference call that the board was scheduled to meet sometime this month to discuss the share buyback plan.

The newspaper reported that the board would discuss the details of the buyback plan at the meeting, such as when it would begin the buyback plan, what it would likely spend per share and how many shares it expected to purchase.

The total planned purchase would account for 2.85 percent of the company's total shares issued, the report said.

The buyback plan was expected to increase shareholder value, or lift the ratio of return on equity (ROE) by 2 percent to 4 percent, it said.

In March, TSMC said in a statement that it would purchase US$1.5 billion in shares owned by Philips via a tender offer. The company said at the time that it would then cancel the repurchased shares.

Shares of TSMC closed 1.12 percent lower at NT$61.6 yesterday. The stock has dropped 9 percent since the beginning of the year, underperforming the benchmark TAIEX's 9.47 percent rise in the year to date.

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