Sat, Feb 21, 2009 - Page 11 News List

[ BUSINESS BRIEFS ]

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Gas prices drop today

Domestic gasoline and diesel prices will fall by NT$0.2 and NT$0.3 per liter respectively, effective today, CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) announced yesterday.

After the adjustment, CPC’s price for a liter of 98-octane unleaded gasoline will be NT$24.8, 95-octane unleaded gasoline will cost NT$23.3 and 92-octane unleaded gasoline NT$22.6. Diesel will be priced at NT$19.7.

Rival Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) said it would match CPC’s price adjustment, taking effect today.

Ministry considers partners

Taiwan plans to pick either US chipmaker Micron Technology Inc or Japan’s Elpida Memory Inc to help upgrade its semiconductor industry, the Central News Agency (CNA) said yesterday.

CNA quoted Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) as saying that Taiwan would unveil plans for the integration of its dynamic random access memory (DRAM) industry at the end of this month and wants to pick a foreign chipmaker to merge with Taiwan semiconductor producers.

While Taiwan favors Micron and Elpida, a merger between Micron-Elpida-Taiwan was unlikely because it would be costly and time-consuming to merge the technologies of three countries, Yiin told CNA.

CeBIT bookings drop 25%

Exhibitor bookings for a major computer-industry trade fair, CeBIT in Germany, have slumped 25 percent as the worldwide recession bites, the main organizer said yesterday.

Ernst Raue, a director of the Deutsche Messe company who has oversight of CeBIT, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that 4,300 booths had been booked for the March 3 to March 8 fair, which in the 1990s was the world’s biggest computing show.

In volume terms, the 200,000m2 of exhibition space booked at CeBIT was down 20 percent from last year.

He said the typical stay-aways were small makers of components, computer hardware and telecoms products from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Account surplus drops

The nation’s current account surplus dropped to US$7.92 billion in the fourth quarter of last year from US$11.18 billion a year earlier, because of the sharp decline in external demand induced by a global slowdown, the central bank said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, the financial account reported a net inflow of US$2.5 billion in the fourth quarter, the services account turned to a surplus of US$0.26 billion in the same period, the income account surplus dropped to US$2.05 billion in the fourth quarter, and the current transfer deficit went down to US$0.71 billion, the bank said.

For the whole of last year, the current account showed a surplus of US$25.02 billion, the financial account posted a net outflow of US$1.78 billion, and the overall balance registered a surplus of US$26.27 billion, reflecting an increase in the bank’s reserve assets, the statement said.

Asustek to buy back shares

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the nation’s largest maker of motherboards, yesterday said it would buy back 9.64 million of its shares for NT$325.02 million (US$9.34 million) on the open market.

The number of shares repurchased, at NT$33.7 per share, accounted for 0.23 percent of the total number of shares issued, Asustek said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

On Wednesday, Asustek announced plans to buy back 60 million shares for NT$2.88 billion, or between NT$23 and NT$48 per share, in a bid to lift shareholders’ earnings. The buyback will run through April 18.

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