Wed, May 14, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

TSMC to buy back shares

The board of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, has approved a US$1 billion share buyback plan.

TSMC planned to repurchase a maximum of 500 million common shares at prices ranging from NT$48.25 to NT$100.5 per share from the open market from May 14 to July 13, a company statement said. The chipmaker will then cancel the repurchased shares.

“This buyback program by TSMC is part of the fourth phase of a multi-phase plan and Philips intends to continue participating in this program,” said TSMC spokesperson and chief financial officer Lora Ho (何麗梅). “It has been, and still is, Philips’ intention not to sell TSMC shares other than during the period of a TSMC buyback program.”

Philips holds approximately 5 percent of TSMC common shares, with a market value of approximately US$2.8 billion.

TSMC and Philips agreed in March last year to a multi-phased plan to facilitate an orderly exit by Philips from its holdings in TSMC. The first three phases of the plan were completed last year.

The board of directors also approved capital appropriation of US$995 million to expand its Fab 12 and increase advanced process capacity.

Mosel to triple cell capacity

Mosel Vitelic Inc (茂矽) yesterday said it planned to more than triple its solar cell capacity to 200 megawatts within a year to meet fast-growing demand amid rising oil prices and awareness of environmental protection.

Phasing out its computer memory chip business, Mosel held a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for its second solar cell plant in northern Taiwan. Currently, Mosel operates two production lines in Hsinchu with an annual capacity of 60 megawatts.

The new plant is scheduled to join the operation by year’s end with small volume output, Mosel said.

Mosel holds owns 13 percent of the nation’s third-largest computer memory chipmaker, ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技).

Last month, Mosel’s board approved a plan to sell around 228.75 million common shares overseas and at home to fund the expansion. Mosel may raise NT$6.4 billion from the share offering based on its closing price of NT$28.15 yesterday.

Wal-Mart may trail estimates

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, posted a higher first-quarter profit and forecast second-quarter earnings that may trail analyst estimates as consumers strained by gasoline prices slowed spending.

Sales at stores open for at least a year may be unchanged in the three months through July, the retailer said yesterday.

“There are still uncertainties about the rest of the year,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said in a recorded call.

Net income increased 6.9 percent to US$3.02 billion, or US$0.76 a share, from US$2.83 billion, or US$0.68, a year earlier, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said in a statement. Profit beat estimates by US$0.01. Revenue for the three months through April 30 rose 10 percent to US$95.3 billion.

Second-quarter profit would be between US$0.78 and US$0.81 a share, Wal-Mart said. The retailer said it was “difficult to quantify” the impact of tax-rebate payments. Twenty analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated an average profit of US$0.81.

NT dollar declines

The NT dollar declined against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, down NT$0.023 to close at NT$30.873.

A total of US$1.145 billion changed hands during the day’s trading.

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