Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 3 News List

AIDC privatization plan draws mixed reactions

BIG RISKS:A legislator said that the corporation could fall into foreign hands if privatized, which could lead to national security being breached because of leaks

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A plan to privatize state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) has drawn mixed reaction after the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) endorsed the move, while a lawmaker raised national security concerns.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference yesterday that he opposed the privatization plan submitted by the Taichung-based aerospace company under the ministry to the Executive Yuan on March 28.

The company has finally become profitable in recent years after securing contracts with international partners, including GE Aviation, Bell, Sikorsky, Airbus and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and has also obtained advanced aerospace technology through the Industry Cooperation Program.

Its recent strong performance is why the company should remain state-controlled, Hsu said, adding that several poorly performing state-owned companies, such as Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), were the ones that need to be privatized.

Privatization of the company could expose AIDC to the risk of being taken over by its competitors or — the worst case scenario — by Beijing, the lawmaker said.

Singapore Technologies Aerospace, AIDC’s major competitor, has been eyeing securing 25 percent of AIDC, Hsu said, citing internal company information he obtained.

Hsu said that several AIDC employees had also raised concerns over the potential for information and military intelligence leaks, as well as over Chinese investment or mergers which could bring the company under the influence of Beijing.

Privatization should not be the only option for AIDC because the move has serious political and national security implications, as well as business issues, Hsu said.

However, ministry official Ho Hua-hsun (何華勳) said that now is the best time to privatize AIDC, which reported a profit of NT$1.2 billion last year.

AIDC vice general manager Lin Nan-chu (林南助) said that there would be no risk of information leaks regardless of any ownership change at the company.

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