Tue, Jan 15, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

Lyu appointed to Mega job

The Ministry of Finance yesterday appointed former minister without portfolio Joseph Lyu (呂桔誠) as the replacement for outgoing Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控) chairman Cheng Shen-chih (鄭深池), a ministry statement said.

Lyu will double as chairman of the firm's subsidiary, Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐國際商銀), the statement said.

The ministry also appointed Kaohsiung City Government Finance Bureau chief Ray Dawn (董瑞斌) to be Mega Financial's president and the chairman of subsidiary Mega Bills Finance Co (兆豐票券), the statement said.

Mega's incumbent president, Mckinney Tsai (蔡友才), will move to head Mega Investment Trust Corp (兆豐國際投信), it said.

The three nominations are expected to be approved at the firm's board meeting today.

Election result boosts shares

Taiwan's share prices closed 1.79 percent higher yesterday after a landslide victory by the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in weekend parliamentary elections, dealers said.

The weighted index closed up 144.10 points at 8,173.41, having traded in a range of 8,260.88 to 8,097.68 on turnover of NT$168.10 billion (US$5.19 billion).

The tourism sector was up 6.92 percent, cement added 6.54 percent, financials rose 5.64 percent, construction was up 5.16 percent, textiles advanced 5.16 percent and transport rose 2.36 percent.

The electronics sector was down 0.79 percent.

The KMT's win raised hopes for better cross-strait economic ties, giving a boost to tourism-related stocks, dealers said.

Frank Lin, senior vice president at Fubon Securities (富邦證券), said investors were willing to build their investments after the KMT's unexpectedly strong showing.

"Investors are pinning their hopes on better cross-strait relations, no matter who wins the presidential election in March," Lin said.

He said that investors expected more Chinese visitors would be given permission to enter Taiwan.

If that materializes, Lin said "it will boost domestic demand not only for hotels, but also for other related services."

An increase in domestic demand would also help increase the value of assets, he added.

Gold hits record in Hong Kong

Hong Kong gold prices yesterday closed above US$900 for the first time as investors search for a safe haven amid fears of a US economic slowdown and stock market turmoil.

The precious metal closed at US$908 an ounce after passing the US$900 mark at around 2:30pm -- up US$15.50 an ounce from Friday's close of US$892.50, dealers said.

The price had broken through the US$900 mark during trading in New York on Friday following a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that was thought to indicate there could be more US interest rate cuts.

Formosa Plastics optimistic

Formosa Plastics Group (台塑), Taiwan's biggest diversified industrial company, expects revenue to rise to a record this year as it expands production.

Revenue will climb from last year's NT$2 trillion (US$62 billion), CEO William Wong (王文淵) told reporters in Mailiao Township (麥寮), Yunlin County, yesterday, without giving an estimate. Sales last year increased 20 percent from 2006, he said.

Formosa Plastics is expanding output to meet demand for its products from manufacturers that make goods including drinking bottles, toys and garments.

"The market was exceptionally good last year as sales in countries such as Vietnam, the US and China all rose quite a lot," Wong said.

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