Possible merger approved
The Fair Trade Commission yesterday gave the green light to China Steel Corp (中鋼) to acquire a stake of more than 50 percent in Chung Hung Steel Corp (中鴻鋼鐵), meaning that the two companies are now permitted to merge.
The commission said this deal would only affect China Steel’s stake in Chung Hung Steel, and would not affect the steel industry’s market structure.
Moreover, cold-rolled and hot-rolled steel products will have to face competition from major international steel makers as they circulate in global markets, it said.
Chung Hung Steel formed a strategic alliance with China Steel at the end of 1999, and became a unit of China Steel the year after.
Bank shelves holding firm plan
The state-owned Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) will not consider forming a financial holding company on its own this year, bank chairman Wang Yao-shing (王耀興) said yesterday at a press gathering.
Instead, the bank will focus on expanding its current brokerage and investment trust businesses this year, Wang said.
Wang attributed two reasons to the bank’s reservation on establishing itself a holding company: small registered capitalization and inadequate workforce.
The bank currently has a paid-in capital of NT$25 billion (US$744.4 million), which is much lower than the regulatory requirement of NT$65 billion, Wang said.
FDIs drop across the board
Taiwan’s foreign direct investments (FDIs) showed negative growth across the board as a result of the deepening global recession, the Ministry of Economic Affairs reported on Tuesday.
Last month, FDI applications reached 30 cases, totaling an investment value of US$374.03 million, the ministry’s latest data showed.
For the whole of last year, applications totaled 387 cases, showing an year-over-year decrease of 16.59 percent, while the total annual dollar amount shrank 30.97 percent to US$4.466 billion, the ministry said.
CPT to swap plants for shares
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (CPT, 中華映管), the nation’s fourth-biggest maker of liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), will swap four plants in China for a controlling stake in Mindong Electric Group Co (閩東電機), a Shenzhen-listed maker of electric generators.
Mindong will swap 565 million new shares, an 82 percent stake, for the four factories making liquid-crystal-display modules, it said in a Shenzhen stock exchange statement on Tuesday. The deal is valued at 2.76 billion yuan (US$404 million).
Malaysia slashes key rate
Malaysia’s central bank yesterday slashed the key policy interest rate by 75 basis points — its biggest cut since 2004 — in a bid to cushion the weakening economy and avert a recession.
In its first policy meeting of the year, Bank Negara Malaysia cut its benchmark overnight policy rate (OPR) to 2.5 percent from 3.25 percent, effective immediately.
It also cut the statutory reserve requirements (SSR) to 2 percent from 3.5 percent effective Feb. 1.
NT stays near three-year low
The New Taiwan dollar was little changed yesterday near a three-year low as stock losses and concern about a deepening global economic slump damped demand for riskier assets.
The NT dollar was at NT$33.634 versus the greenback as of the 5:30pm close, from NT$33.639 on Tuesday, according to Taipei Forex Inc. It earlier touched NT$33.79, the weakest level since October 2005