Investors grumble as 172 firms release results at once

PROFIT AND LOSS: Retail investors complained that the simultaneous announcement of annual earnings was a trick to make it harder for them to monitor corporate results

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Jun 11, 2005 - Page 10

With the Dragon Boat Festival being held today, local companies apparently regarded yesterday as auspicious, with a total of 172 firms holding their annual shareholders' meeting. This triggered complaints from some retail investors, who said that the simultaneous announcement of results discouraged them from monitoring corporate performances.

More than two dozen financial institutions released their results, with some reporting a profitable year and declaring bounteous dividends during the meetings.

Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控), the nation's sixth-largest provider of financial services by assets, offered one of the most preferential dividends at NT$3 (US$0.10) per share, including a cash dividend of NT$1 and a stock dividend of NT$2, according to the company's press release.

Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) declared a cash dividend of NT$1.3 and a stock dividend of NT$1.45. Company chairman Thomas Wu (吳東亮) said at the shareholders' meeting that financial institutions faced grave challenges in operations last year as the domestic stock market remained at a low and the financial regulator imposed more restrictions on marketing activities in the consumer-banking sector.

Even so, the company expects to achieve an after-tax net income of NT$13.5 billion for the whole year, up 20 percent from last year's NT$11.3 billion, the company said.

Shinkong Financial Holding Co's (新光金控) board yesterday approved a proposal to acquire Macoto Bank (誠泰銀行) as a wholly-owned subsidiary through a share swap. The acquisition, which will take effect on Oct. 1, will help Shinkong Financial expand its number of banking locations to 108, with 50 located in the greater Taipei area.

Shinkong also announced NT$3.91 billion of after-tax net income for the first five months of the year, with earnings per share at NT$1.27.

Cosmos Bank Taiwan (萬泰銀行), the nation's first and largest cash-card issuer, approved a proposal to authorize its board to increase capital through a private placement at its stockholder meeting yesterday.

Although the decision was viewed as paving the way for the US-based General Electric Co to buy a stake in the local lender, Cosmos Bank's high-level officials remained tight-lipped about the possibility of such a deal.

Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) announced yesterday that its co-CEO Richard Tsai (蔡明興) and two other company officials have gained seats on the board of the regional lender Hsinchu International Bank (新竹商銀), boosting possibilities for a merger between the two firms.

The International Bank of Taipei's (IBT, 台北商銀) meeting was hosted by its chairman Ho Shou-chuan (何壽川), who wrapped up the meeting in 30 minutes without touching upon the topic of a possible merger with SinoPac Financial Holding Co (建華金控).

First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), the nation's fourth-largest financial-services company by assets, said in a statement that shareholders approved a plan to sell its property-insurance unit, Mingtai Fire and Marine Insurance Co (明台產險), to Japan's Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. First Financial first announced the plan to sell Mingtai on April 22 for NT$8.4 billion.