Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - Page 14 News List

TAIEX plunges amid F-share scandal

NUCLEAR ISSUE:With a recycling firm defending its accounts, analysts said the debate over the fate of a nuclear power plant was creating doubt among investors

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The TAIEX shed 1.92 percent, or 171.33 points, to 8,774.12 points yesterday as investors dumped foreign-registered shares amid accounting scandals, while a stock exchange authority said it had exercised a strict review prior to the listings.

Shares also dived due to uncertainty over the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), with the benchmark index falling below the nearest technical support at about 8,800 points and moving further down to the day’s low, before slightly rebounding at the close.

Turnover was NT$134.048 billion (US$4.4 billion) yesterday, up from NT$94.925 billion the previous session.

The across-the-board retreat came a day after Glaucus Research Group California LLC published a report accusing Taipei-listed Chinese foam-rubber recycler Asia Plastics Recycling Holding Ltd (APR, 亞塑再生) of padding its earnings and assets.

The US short-seller set APR’s target price at zero, sending its stock diving by its daily limit for the second day running to NT$74.9 yesterday, with 2.16 million shares yet to find buyers, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

The losses spread to other overseas incorporated companies listed on the local bourse, with casual shoe maker Jinli Group Holdings Ltd (金麗集團控股) losing the maximum 7 percent to NT$86.4 and department store chain operator Grand Ocean Retail Group Ltd (大洋百貨集團) down 3.79 percent at NT$63.5.

Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp (TWSE, 台灣證券交易所) president Michael Lin (林火燈) said foreign-registered firms are subject to stricter review than domestic companies and the local bourse adopts tighter requirements than its peers overseas.

“The correction will prove a short-term twist... We remain confident on F-shares and so should investors,” Lin told reporters.

Lin said APR may take legal action against the US firm if their accusation is unfounded. APR is scheduled to give a more detailed briefing tomorrow.

The selling pressure is bound to persist and weigh on the main index on Monday unless APR gives a satisfactory account, Hua Nan Securities Co (華南永昌證券) chairman David Chu (儲祥生) said by telephone.

Chu said it is unlikely that companies could fabricate books without being exposed by the listing procedure, as their underwriters and accountants visit their clients and give fair assessments of the firms’ financial conditions.

Hua Nan Securities would not trim F-shares amid the controversy, but will look at companies according to their fundamentals, he said.

Foreign institutional players apparently shared this view as they increased local shares by net NT$7.09 billion yesterday, buying more than selling for 25 consecutive sessions, according to TWSE statistics.

However, mutual funds sold a net NT$283.71 million of Taiwanese stock, and proprietary traders slashed another NT$2.72 billion, data showed.

Masterlink Securities Investment Advisory Corp (元富投顧) president Liu Kun-hsi (劉坤錫) said investors may avoid companies listed on the foreign-registered board until the accounting fraud charges are settled.

Investors have more difficulty gaining a full grasp of foreign-registered companies’ financial profiles due to indirect holdings, Liu said.

There are 37 foreign-registered firms with primary listings on the local bourse, and 28 have Taiwanese backgrounds, with business es encompassing the plastics, tourism, shipping, biotechnology, retail and electronic sectors, TWSE data showed.

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