Thu, Mar 17, 2011 - Page 11 News List

[ BUSINESS BRIEFS ]

Staff Writer, with Agencies

UMC plans more stake buys

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s second-largest contract chipmaker, plans to buy an additional stake of up to 30 percent in China’s HeJian Technology (Suzhou) Co (和艦科技) for up to US$87 million, UMC chief financial officer Liu Chi-tung (劉啟東) said by telephone.

The company’s board approved the share purchase plan yesterday and plans to finalize the deal with HeJian’s major shareholders within one to two months, Liu told the Taipei Times.

The purchase of shares in Best Elite International Ltd, which currently owns 100 percent of HeJian stock, would take UMC’s stake in the chipmaker to as much as 45 percent, Liu said. The company currently owns 15 percent of HeJian.

The Hsinchu-based company will request approval from the Investment Commission to make the deal, Liu added.

Supply pushes HTC shares up

HTC Corp (宏達電) saw its shares rise the most in three weeks in Taipei yesterday after chief executive Peter Chou (周永明) said the company is not short of materials and is in close contact with its suppliers in Japan after the earthquake on Friday last week.

“I think everyone’s overreacting. Right now we don’t have any shortages,” Chou told reporters at a conference. “For March and April at least, we don’t see any impact.”

HTC, the world’s largest maker of handsets using Google Inc and Microsoft Corp operating systems, surged 6.7 percent to NT$1,030 at the close of trading yesterday, its biggest advance since Feb. 25. HTC rebounded from a 5.9 percent decline the previous day.

Stability fund not planned: Chen

Taiwan is not considering using government funds to stabilize the local stock market, which tumbled on Tuesday amid market jitters over the crisis in Japan, Vice Premier Sean Chen (陳?) said yesterday.

Chen, who doubles as the chairman of the National Stabilization Fund committee, said the Ministry of Finance is closely monitoring fluctuations in the stock market and believed that it was not yet time to activate the fund.

The benchmark TAIEX fell 3.35 percent on Tuesday, the sharpest drop in 14 months, but rebounded yesterday with a rise of 1.09 percent.

Interest rate hike still likely

The nation’s central bank is still likely to raise the benchmark interest rate by 12.5 basis points this month despite the impact of the earthquake in Japan on Friday last week, economists said yesterday.

Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan chief economist Tony Phoo (符銘財) said it remained highly likely the central bank would hike interest rates at its first-quarter board meeting amid the current gentle inflation in Taiwan.

Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), chief economist of Citigroup Taiwan, also maintained his prediction on an increase of 12.5 basis points.

Unless radiation leaks from the unfolding nuclear power plant crisis in Japan spiral out of control or the disaster results in global financial disorder, the central bank will maintain its pace of raising interest rates, he added.

Gintech approves CTCI venture

Gintech Energy Corp’s (昱晶能源) board approved a plan to set up a solar power development company with CTCI Group (中鼎工程), the solar cell maker said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The venture will have an initial capital of NT$100 million (US$3.38 million), the Miaoli-based company said.

NT dollar inches up

The New Taiwan dollar rose against the US dollar yesterday, up NT$0.003 to close at NT$29.556.

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