Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - Page 11 News List

[BUSINESS BRIEFS]

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

TAITRA portal sparks interest

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) said yesterday that since the 2009 Sourcing Taiwan Web portal was launched to attract export opportunities for local manufacturers, it had received inquiries from more than 750 local export companies requesting 4,916 individual appointments.

A TAITRA sourcing conference mandated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been scheduled for March 30 through April 2. On Sunday, TAITRA said that more than 62 countries, 566 companies and 685 foreign guests had been invited to participate, with companies with capitalization in excess of US$100 million accounting for half of the invitees.

No subsidies for LCD TVs

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday denied local media reports that it is planning to provide NT$2,000 (US$57.56) subsidies to individuals who purchase liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions, saying it had not had any discussions nor conducted any studies on the idea.

The ministry also denied that it had been authorized by the Executive Yuan to design a plan for the government to subsidize domestic purchases of LCD television sets.

It said in a press release that the subsidy proposal had been raised by entrepreneurs at a breakfast meeting on Monday between top government officials and industry leaders.

“Vice Premier Paul Chiu (邱正雄) agreed only to consider and evaluate the issue,” the ministry said.

As for encouraging the public to replace analog TVs with digital LCD sets, the ministry said agencies are still discussing the idea.

Valin to buy Fortescue stake

China’s Hunan Valin Iron and Steel Group (湖南華菱管線) said yesterday it would acquire a 16.5 percent stake in Australian miner Fortescue Metals Ltd for A$1.2 billion (US$776 million).

State-owned Valin agreed to buy 225 million new Fortescue shares at A$2.48 each, Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing a company statement.

Officials at the two companies were not immediately available for comment.

The Chinese company also agreed to acquire 275 million existing Fortescue shares from hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, the report said.

Malaysia cuts key interest rate

Malaysia’s central bank cut its key interest rate yesterday for the third time since November as it warned the economy may contract this year.

Bank Negara Malaysia slashed the overnight policy rate — used by commercial banks to set lending rates — by half a percentage point to 2 percent. It also lowered reserve requirements for banks to 1 percent from 2 percent, which will release more funds into the financial system.

“The domestic economic conditions are expected to continue to remain challenging in the coming quarters with the continued deterioration in the global economy,” the central bank said in a statement.

HK to extend blackout period

Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange said yesterday its proposal to toughen restrictions on directors trading shares in their own companies had been approved by the city’s financial watchdog.

The exchange said in a statement that it had received the approval of the Securities and Futures Commission to extend the so-called blackout period preventing directors from trading in their own companies’ shares.

The blackout period will be extended from the current one month to 60 days before the company’s annual results are announced.

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