Tue, Jul 04, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Government to set up national investment firm

ECONOMIC DRIVER:The company, which will run three funds, is to be under the remit of the National Development Council and be capitalized at NT$250m

Staff writer, with CNA

The government yesterday unveiled plans for a national investment firm to help transform the economy.

Under the auspices of the National Development Council (NDC), the firm is to combine resources from the public and private sectors to promote transformations across the “five plus two” sectors, as well as the adoption of high-value-added services and solution-oriented business models.

The “five plus two” industries refer to the development of an “Asian Silicon Valley,” “intelligent” machinery, “green” energy technology, biomedicine and national defense — plus setting up a new agricultural business model and a circular economy.

The company is to be capitalized at NT$250 million (US$8.22 million), and the plan is to raise NT$10 billion to run three industry-specific investment funds focusing on Internet of Things (IoT), biotechnology and other segments of the “five plus two” sectors.

Each of the funds would likely have a budget of between NT$2 billion and NT$4 billion, the council said.

With an initial investment of NT$100 million from the council, the government would hold a 40 percent stake in the company.

The council said it is also reaching out to state-run financial companies, such as Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控), and venture investors such as Industrial Technology Research Institute.

David Weng (翁嘉盛), a major investor in the “Asian Silicon Valley” initiative who has been tapped to be the new firm’s president, confirmed that high-level discussions are under way to enlist Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) participation.

The company would also welcome foreign and Silicon Valley companies to participate in the funds, Weng said.

The fund focusing on IoT would be launched before the end of September, followed by a biotechnology fund before the end of this year, while a third fund would be launched in the first half of next year, he said.

The challenge lies in finding appropriate investors as opposed to fundraising, said former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), who serves as board director at the company.

There are many private companies that can easily contribute NT$1 billion each to the funds and only 10 participants are required, Wu said, adding that companies have been “lining up to get in on the ground floor.”

Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) and some of its peers have set aside investment quotas for the funds, NDC Deputy Minister and company board director Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said.

The company’s board also includes Patrick Yang (楊育民), a prominent figure in the biotechnology sector who has worked at Merck & Co, Roche Holding AG and Genentech Inc.

Jack Huang (黃日燦), a veteran mergers-and-acquisition lawyer, would serve as general counsel for the board.

Additional reporting by Liberty Times

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