Wed, May 21, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

CNPC tallies quake losses

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC, 中國石油天然氣) said that last week’s earthquake in gas-rich southwest China cost it estimated losses of 1.78 billion yuan (US$254.3 million) and the lives of at least five staff.

China’s largest oil and gas producer said facilities in quake-hit regions, including oil and gas fields, refineries and oil depots, were damaged by the massive quake, according to a statement posted on its Web site late on Monday.

The May 12 quake devastated around 100,000km² of Sichuan Province, which accounts for more than 20 percent of the nation’s total natural gas production.

CNPC, parent of Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed PetroChina (中石化), said 44 employees were injured, five were missing and it had “lost contact” with another five following the quake.

PetroChina had previously said one gas well that normally produces 6 million cubic meters per day had been halted in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

But CNPC said its natural gas production in the Province had been restored on Monday to 99 percent of pre-disaster levels.

China tops substandard list

Many of the substandard commercial products imported last month were manufactured in China, a news release issued by the Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) said on Monday.

The CPC published 55 alerts on substandard products imported last month, 15 fewer than for the previous month, the statement said.

Of the 55, 44 alerts focused on unsafe commercial products excluding food and agricultural items, with 16 involving chemicals, 13 related to toys, five covering machinery and electrical goods and 10 involving other items.

Thirty-six of the 44 alerts on substandard commercial products concerned products manufactured in China, the statement said.

The CPC also publicized eight alerts about food-related products, five of which covered food items imported from Vietnam, the statement indicated.

The remaining three alerts were related to agricultural and livestock-related products.

Downgrade hurts Chang Hwa

Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰銀), the third-best performing stock on Taiwan’s Financial and Insurance Index, fell the most in almost four months in Taipei trading after Citigroup downgraded the stock to “sell” from “buy.”

Chang Hwa lost 5.6 percent to close at NT$23.60 yesterday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, set for its biggest decline since Jan. 22. The island’s benchmark TAIEX index dropped 2.4 percent.

“We suggest investors take profit, expecting earnings momentum to continue to slow down,” Citigroup Analyst Bradford Ti wrote in a report yesterday. He cut his target for the stock’s price to NT$21 from NT$23.

Chang Hwa, which is merging with Taiwan’s Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), has surged 35 percent in the past three months, and is the third-best performing stock on the 34-member Taiwan Financial and Insurance Index.

PVA wins Taiwan order

PVA TePla AG, the chip-equipment maker formed by merging TePla AG and PVA Vakuum-Anlagenbau, won an order from a Taiwanese silicon producer worth more than 5 million euros (US$7.8 million).

PVA’s Danish unit will supply slim-rod pullers and analysis systems for delivery next year, the company said in a statement distributed by Hugin yesterday. Asslar, Germany-based PVA didn’t identify the customer.

NT dollar weakens slightly

The NT dollar weakened slightly by NT$0.036 to trade at NT$30.584 against the greenback yesterday on turnover of US$1.248 billion.

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