Wed, Apr 11, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Mixed views on privatizing state-run energy firms

CONCERN:Questions over energy security if the CPC and Taipower are privatized were raised, while the CNFI’s chairman urged immediate privatizations of the firms

Staff writer, with CNA

Experts invited to the first of a series of special panel meetings to review the performance of the state-run oil and electricity companies yesterday expressed mixed views on their possible privatization.

Some of those who attended the meeting said they favor privatizing CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油), and Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) to make them more efficient, while others said they do not, Liou Ming-joung (劉明忠), executive director of the State-owned Enterprise Commission, told the media after the closed-door meeting.

Liu said some of the participants expressed misgivings about securing energy supplies if the two firms were privatized, especially as the nation relies on imports for about 99 percent of its energy.

No conclusions were reached at the meeting, Liu said, adding that a second meeting would be held within a month.

As for the two companies’ compensation policies, Liu said there was “not enough time” to cover these issues, but that they would included on the agenda of future meetings.

Both CPC and Taipower’s compensation policies have drawn fire for being overly generous, particularly at a time when both are losing money.

Before the meeting began, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) told reporters that his ministry would like to see both companies cut their spending by as much as a combined NT$12.5 billion this year.

The meeting, following a highly controversial increase in fuel prices, was attended by a group of 18 people comprising of company chief executives, academics, experts, consumer group representatives and government officials.

Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工業總會) chairman Preston Chen (陳武雄) said ahead of the meeting that state-run companies have always had problems and solving them was simply a matter of determination.

Citing China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) and China Steel Corp (中鋼) as successful examples of privatizations, Chen urged CPC and Taipower to follow suit as soon as possible.

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