LCD backlight supplier denies manipulating stock

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 - Page 14

LCD backlight module supplier Ubright Optronics Corp (友輝光電) yesterday denied it had been involved in an alleged share price manipulation scandal after its stock was seriously hit following a report in the local media.

In addition, the company announced that its board had decided to repurchase 2 million of its common shares on the open market at between NT$73.85 and NT$130.00 per share from today to Dec. 21, according to a company’s filing submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Ubright said in the filing that the repurchased shares would be transferred to its employees.

However, the share buyback scheme has also been viewed as a move to protect the listed company’s creditworthiness and shareholder value.

Shares in the company closed 6.64 percent down at NT$105.5 on the GRETAI Securities Market yesterday, underperforming the over-the-counter index’s 0.86 percent decline, after the Chinese-language Next Magazine reported in its latest issue that a fund manager at Capital Trust Investment Corp (群益投信) had allegedly colluded with Ubright insiders to manipulate its share price between Feb. 7 and April 6.

The magazine said the fund manager, surnamed Tsai (蔡), had followed the same practice as that of former ING Securities Investment and Trust Co (安泰投信) vice president Sam Hsieh (謝青良) to make huge profits from the manipulation of the share price of Ablerex Electronics Co (盈正豫順電子) through dummy accounts.

“The company is not aware of any share price manipulation by the fund manager as reported by Next Magazine,” the company said in the filing, adding that its net profits in the first, second and third quarters were all higher than the same periods of last year.

The GRETAI exchange regulator said in a statement yesterday that it had not found any suspicious trading practices of Ubright Optronics shares between Feb. 7 and April 6, and hoped investors would remain confident in the company.

Meanwhile, Capital Trust maintained its innocence in a separate statement posted on the company’s Web site, dismissing the allegation made by the magazine.

The Ubright allegations are the latest development in a series of stories over the past few weeks of fund managers reportedly colluding with company insiders to make huge profits from manipulating small-cap stocks.

On Tuesday, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that major shareholders of Parade Technologies Ltd (譜瑞), a fabless semiconductor company that specializes in integrated display and display interface solutions, had colluded with fund managers to manipulate the company’s share price.