Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Taishin shares spike on Soros rumors

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Taishin Financial Holdings Co (新光金), in merger talks with Changhwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) that would create the nation's second-largest financial services company, rose to an almost two-week high following a report in the Chinese-language Commercial Times that George Soros may increase his stake in the firm.

Shares of Taishin Financial advanced 2.2 percent to NT$14.25, the highest since Nov. 7, at the 1:30pm close in Taipei yesterday, after gaining as much as 4.3 percent.

Taishin president Lin Keh-hsiao (林克孝) confirmed that a Soros-controlled hedge fund, QE International Ltd, bought NT$4 billion (US$124 million) Taishin shares at NT$15 each last December. He did not know if the fund would increase its stake.

"We'll welcome it if the fund really plans to do so," Lin said.

The fund is looking to increase its holding because it believes the stock is undervalued, the Commercial Times said, without saying where it obtained the information.

"Soros reportedly buying financial shares in Taiwan makes sense as all these stocks are comparatively cheap after the US subprime crisis," said Michael On, who oversees US$100 million in assets as managing director at Beyond Asset Management Co in Taipei.

On said he does not hold Taishin shares.

Shares of Taishin have declined 25 percent this year, lagging an 11 percent gain on the benchmark TAIEX index.

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