Shanghai to punish Taiwanese tablet maker for pollution


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 - Page 13

Shanghai’s government said it will punish a Taiwanese tablet maker affiliated with Pegatron Corp (和碩) for polluting a river in the city’s Songjiang district.

RiTeng Computer Accessory Co (日騰電腦配件) discharged waste through a rain pipe into a local river, the Songjiang environmental protection bureau said in a statement on its Web site on Sunday.

The pollution was reported during the Lunar New Year holiday, the government said. Shares of Casetek Holdings Ltd (鎧勝) pared losses after the Taipei-based parent of RiTeng said the one-time incident was not related to production procedures and will have a limited impact.

Workers at the Shanghai factory did not follow proper waste-water management procedures while conducting a cleanup, Jonathan Chang (張昭平), chief financial officer of Casetek, said. The company has not been notified of the penalty and expects the fine will not exceed 300,000 yuan (US$48,000), he said.

“Chinese officials have visited the site, but no decision about the fine has been made yet. We expect the impact will be minor,” Elaine Chiu (邱佩柔), a Casetek spokesperson, told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday.

“The factory is operating normally. No capacity loss is expected,” Chiu said. “Reports about a temporary factory shutdown are incorrect.”

Chemical spills and industrial waste pollution in China have fueled criticism of the government’s environmental controls and spurred protests in some cities. Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong (楊雄) said the environment is among issues the municipality plans to tackle over the next five years.

Casetek shares closed 0.7 percent lower at NT$144 in Taipei after dropping by the daily limit. Volume was almost triple that of Thursday and the highest since the shares began trading last month.

“Any penalty for Casetek will be limited,” Angela Hsiang (向子慧), an analyst at KGI Securities Co (凱基證券), said in a report yesterday.

“The dip in the share price brings an investment opportunity,” as the company’s current valuation is lower than its peers, she said.

A 2011 explosion at a RiTeng factory in Shanghai injured some employees and caused damage to equipment, according to a filing by Pegatron to the Taiwan Stock Exchange at the time.

Additional reporting by Lisa Wang