Stock prices for the nation’s top LCD panel makers tumbled by as much as 5 percent yesterday after they were fined hundreds of millions of euros by the EU competition watchdog over a price-fixing scheme.
After receiving the biggest price-fixing fine among the six LCD companies involved in the probe, Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子) saw its shares plunge 5.32 percent to close at NT$38.3 yesterday, while the benchmark TAIEX rose 0.58 percent.
Based on the EU Commission’s ruling on Wednesday, Chimei Innolux has to pay a fine of 300 million euros (US$396.5 million), which the Miaoli-based company said was more than it had expected.
PHOTO: PATRICK LIN, AFP
Shares in AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) and Chunghwa Pictures Tubes Ltd (中華映管), which were fined 116.8 million euros and 9 million euros respectively, plunged 2.44 percent and 0.23 percent to NT$30.05 and NT$4.25, with investors concerned the fines would add to the already bleak fourth-quarter and first-quarter outlook.
Shares in HannStar Display (瀚宇彩晶), however, jumped 3.19 percent to NT$5.82. HannStar received the smallest fine, at 8.1 million euros.
AUO said it would appeal the ruling, while Chimei Innolux, Chunghwa Pictures and HannStar Display Corp said they would not make any decision before receiving formal notification.
Prior to the EU penalties, HSBC Securities had expected Chimei Innolux and AUO to post losses of NT$11.73 billion (US$389.8 million) and NT$8.2 billion respectively this quarter, according to a report released on Oct. 27.
The four Taiwanese LCD panel makers and South Korea’s LG -Display Co were slapped with a total of 649 million euros in fines.
UBS Securities said yesterday the one-off price-fixing fines would not have a significant impact on the fundamentals of the LCD industry.
UBS said it would retain its overweight rating on the industry next year because the flat-panel sector was on track for an upcyle.
Separately, Chimei Innolux yesterday said revenues grew 10.5 percent to NT$45 billion last month, from NT$40.7 billion in October, joining its local peers in posting higher monthly revenues.
Last month, Chimei Innolux shipped more than 23 percent more TV and PC panels than the prior month, increasing to 11.9 million units from 9.7 million units, a company statement released yesterday said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said the government will provide any assistance necessary if the fined companies ask for help.
Shih said, however, that the government should have confidence in the companies’ ability to deal with international lawsuits, as all of them have multinational operations and their own legal teams.
Sun Li-chun (孫立群), a commissioner with the Cabinet-level Fair Trade Commission, said the agency is willing to extend a helping hand if the government is allowed to intervene.
Sun said that based on past experience, the amounts of the fines are negotiable if the companies involved appeal and explain their situations.
Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) attributed the EU move — a repetition of a similar antitrust case in the US — in part to the economic downturn in Europe and the US.
“These two areas tend to take more aggressive approaches when their economies are not in good shape,” she said.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees