Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵) yesterday reshuffled its 15-member board at a shareholders’ meeting, with government-appointed representatives taking up nine seats — including three seats for external directors — while five of the railway project’s original shareholders retained their seats.
The newly elected board made former CEO Ou Chin-der (歐晉德), who replaced former chairwoman Nita Ing (殷琪) in late September, its new chairman with a three-year term.
The government-appointed board members include Pan Wenent (潘文炎), representing the CTCI Foundation (中技社), and Hu Mao-lin (胡懋麟), chairman of the state-owned Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖). Academics Lin Chen-kuo (林振國), George Chen (陳世圯) and Victor Liu (劉維琪) were appointed as independent directors.
During its shareholder meeting yesterday morning, Ou said he would turn around the company’s financial performance by coming up with a healthier operational plan, boosting passenger traffic and negotiating new loans at lower interest rates.
In response to shareholders’ questions, Ou said the company needed more than 140,000 passengers per day to break even, from its current average of 87,000 passengers per day.
He also addressed recent concerns about the company’s highly paid foreign executives, some of whom he said have submitted their resignations in the wake of criticism over their high salaries.
Ou said the company hoped to retain the foreign executives, who made up just 2.6 percent of the company’s total workforce as of August, down from 3.7 percent last year and a reduction of more than 30 percent from the project’s early years.
These executives, whose salaries accounted for 1.9 percent of the company’s total personnel expenditure, remain indispensable to daily operations, especially the railway system’s maintenance, which is of great importance to passenger safety, he added.
The foreign executives are highly sought-after by railway contractors in other countries and have been offered up to double the salary they earn at THSRC, Ou said.
Nevertheless, he said the company would gradually reduce the number of foreign executives by June.
A company source, who declined to be identified, yesterday said the company was expected to negotiate terms including interest rates and maturities with creditor banks including its main lender, Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行), to finalize a NT$382 billion (US$11.8 billion) syndicated loan “by the end of this month or no later than the year’s end.”
For its government-funded loan of NT$308.3 billion, the company hopes to pay a floating interest rate that would be pegged to the rate for one-year postal deposits and would be slightly lower than the averaged rate of 2.6 percent on its old loans, the source said.
A fixed rate of 0.8 percent on top of the rate for one-year postal deposits, currently at 1 percent, would be levied on the remaining loan of NT$73.7 billion, the source said, adding that the company was further negotiating for a ceiling on the rates if they were to be substantially increased.
The US dollar on Friday rose against the euro, but pared gains late in a session that was muddied by quarter-end trading, while riskier commodity-led currencies fell sharply after European inflation hit a record high and US consumer spending increased faster than expected. Although the dollar index was showing its biggest quarterly gain since the first quarter 2015, but was registered its first weekly decline in three weeks. Sterling rose against the dollar after falling earlier in the day. The pound last showed four straight sessions of gains followed by wild declines on concerns about Britain’s plan to slash taxes and pay
SAMSUNG DISTANT SECOND: Top local chip fims served nearly two-thirds of the global market in Q2, while Samsung kept South Korea competitive with its 16.5 percent share Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) remained the world’s largest contract chipmaker in the second quarter of the year with a 53.4 percent share of the global pure-play foundry market, the Taipei-based market information advisory firm TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a research report on Tuesday. Despite TSMC’s market share dipping slightly from 53.6 percent in the first quarter, it was still far ahead of its rivals, TrendForce said. TSMC continued to benefit from emerging technologies, such as high-performance computing devices, the Internet of Things and automotive electronics, as it posted US$18.15 billion in sales in the second quarter, up 3.5 percent
Moderna Inc has refused to hand over to China the core intellectual property behind the development of its COVID-19 vaccine, leading to a collapse in negotiations on its sale in the country, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company turned down China’s request to disclose the formula for its mRNA vaccine because of commercial and safety concerns, the newspaper said, citing people involved in negotiations that took place from 2020 to last year, adding that the vaccine maker is still “eager” to sell the product to China. The company had “given up”
Wafer Works Corp (合晶科技) yesterday announced a NT$15 billion (US$470.7 million) wafer plant investment at the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) to cope with rising demand for auto chips. Construction of the 12-inch fab should begin soon, the Taoyuan-based silicon wafer manufacturer said, adding that it would become operational in 18 months to two years, it said. The fab, to be built on the science park’s campus in Changhua County’s Erlin Township (二林), is planned to have an installed capacity of 200,000 wafers a month, the company said. Wafer Works is operating a 12-inch wafer test line, with monthly output expected to reach