Staff writer, with agencies

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - Page 14

TAIEX fails to breach 8,000

The TAIEX closed lower yesterday as investors again came up against technical hurdles when the benchmark index approached 8,000 points, dealers said.

While some large-cap high-tech stocks, in particular smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co (大立光), regained momentum, the broader market moved in a narrow range as investors lacked incentives to chase prices, they said.

The weighted index closed down 24.27 points, or 0.31 percent, at 7,927.49 on turnover of NT$92.12 billion (US$3.10 billion).

Largan shares gained 4.56 percent to close at NT$779 on speculation that the company had secured orders from South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co, which unveiled its latest flagship smartphone — the Galaxy S4 — in New York on Thursday.

TransAsia launches new route

TransAsia Airways (復興航空) launched direct flights between Taipei and Bangkok yesterday to take advantage of growing local interest in Thailand.

More than 35,000 people traveled between Taiwan and Thailand in January, an increase of 42 percent compared with the same period last year, according to Tourism Bureau figures.

TransAsia said it would operate daily flights between Taipei and Bangkok using its newly acquired Airbus A330 planes, the carrier’s first wide-body aircraft. Bangkok is the second flight destination TransAsia has established in Southeast Asia after Singapore.

The company said it is planning to add routes to Tokyo, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur later this year to expand its presence in Asia.

Ministry approves investments

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday approved two investment projects totaling NT$1.65 billion, including one by G-Tech Optoelectronics Co (正達國際光電), a LCD cover glass manufacturing arm of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密).

The ministry declined to reveal the name of another company, but said the two investments would create 300 jobs in the north and south of the nation.

G-Tech plans to boost cover glass capacity by 16 percent to 2.9 million units in the first half of this year, compared with 2.5 million units at the end of last year, according to the company’s financial statement.

The company operates five factories in Taiwan and three in China.

As yesterday, the ministry has approved 26 projects by Taiwanese companies with operations overseas that plan to invest NT$174 billion in Taiwan and create up to 26,000 jobs, it said.

Formosa Sumco profits slump

Local wafer maker Formosa Sumco Technology Corp (台勝科) yesterday said it made NT$83.17 million in net profit last year, or earnings per share of NT$0.11.

That was an 42 percent annual decline from a net profit of NT$143.66 million, or earnings per share of NT$0.19, in 2011.

Revenue increased 12 percent to NT$9.51 billion last year, compared with NT$8.49 billion in 2011, the company said in a filing.

Lens sales still on the rise

Sales of disposable contact lenses in Taiwan remain on the rise, despite the sluggish domestic and global economies, market research company GfK Group said on Thursday.

Domestic sales of one-day contact lenses grew 7 percent last year, after posting double-digit growth a year earlier, Alice Lee (李岱青), a senior analyst at GfK, said in a research note.

Lee said one-day contact lenses have captured 60 percent of the nation’s contact lens market. She forecast sales of the lenses would grow again this year, because the market is not yet saturated.