Pharma shares soar on fears
Taiwan’s hygiene and medical companies soared, led by Universal Inc (恆大), on expectations that sales could improve after an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and US.
Universal, which makes non-woven fabrics such as baby diapers and surgical gowns, gained 6.8 percent to NT$12.50, set for its highest in 10 months. Mao Bao Inc (毛寶), a maker of household cleaning products, rose 6.6 percent to NT$10.40, its highest since Aug. 25 last year. TTY Biopharm Co (台灣東洋藥品), a drugmaker, climbed 6.6 percent to NT$88.5, the highest since it went public in 2001.
“As the concerns increase, these companies stand to gain,” said Stanley Chou, a fund manager at Mega International Investment Service (兆豐國際投顧), a unit of Taiwan’s third-largest financial service company. “With other stocks falling, these shares look least vulnerable.”
MOF welcomes property tax bill
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement yesterday afternoon it welcomed the advancement of a bill to lower the requirements for preferential property gains tax after the measure passed the legislature’s Finance Committee.
Under current rules, all property owners must either pay land value increment tax according to a progressive scheme or opt for a preferential rate of 10 percent, a privilege that can be used once in their lifetime.
The proposed revision seeks to extend the preference to home-owners who sell their property after residing at the same address for six years and have not used it for commercial gain.
The planned tax cut still needs second and third readings and is designed to help invigorate the property market.
ECCT’s Wittich to head for China
European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (ECCT) chief executive officer Guy Wittich has been tapped to take up a new position as the executive director for China of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) under the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Starting in July, Wittich “will be working out of the Consulate General of the [Kingdom of the] Netherlands in Shanghai and … in charge of attracting Chinese investments to the Netherlands,” while working with his staff located in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, he told the Taipei Times in an e-mail yesterday.
After leading the chamber for almost eight years, Wittich said “it was time to do something different” and is scheduled to complete his work at the chamber in late June. To find a successor, the chamber’s board has established a search committee to initiate the process of selecting possible candidates, chamber chairman Philippe Pellegrin said in a letter to chamber members.
HK expects record visitor volume
A record 4.24 million people are expected to travel in and out of Hong Kong for the May Day holiday, immigration officials in the region of 7 million said yesterday.
The figure, which will see an average of 276,000 people a day crisscrossing the Lo Wu land border with China, would be 16 percent higher than for the same time last year.
The busiest days are expected to be Friday, when 173,000 people are expected to cross from China into Hong Kong, and May 3, when some 170,000 will cross in the opposite direction, a Hong Kong immigration department spokesman said.
May Day, or Labor Day, is a major holiday in the Chinese calendar and a popular time for people in mainland China to spend time with relatives or friends in Hong Kong.