Taiwan TFT-LCD panel makers to raise NT$100 B. in funds in 2004

Dec 16, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Quincy, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 16, 2003 (CENS)--Three major thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel makers in Taiwan are scheduled to raise over NT$100 billion (US$2.93 billion at US$1: NT$34.1) in new capital next year to finance construction of their new-generation panel plants, according to the companies.

The three companies are HannStar Display Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. (CPT) and Quanta Display Inc. Another two major local panel makers, AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (CMO), however, do not rule out raising funds needed for their seventh-generation plants in advance, though both of them have secured needed funds for investment deployment in 2004.

HannStar's board recently resolved to issue 800 million shares in global depository receipts (GDRs) next year, 200 million shares more than the originally scheduled 600 million shares, in a bid to raise capital of NT$13 billion (US$381.23 million) by the end of January 2004. The company claimed that the raised funds would be used for the third-stage expansion at its fifth-generation panel plant in Taiwan.

HannStar has projected capital expenditure at NT$30 billion (US$879.77 million) for 2004, mainly on the construction of its fifth-generation plant facility. With the planned issuance of GDRs to raise NT$13 billion in funds next year, all of the needed capital for the fifth-generation panel plant will be fully secured.

HannStar, however, claimed that it would also move to build a sixth-generation panel plant in the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP) in the first half next year. The company pointed out that the sixth-generation panel facility requires total investment of f NT$80 billion to NT$90 billion (US$2.35 billion to US$2.64 billion), which would be sourced through GDR issuance, cash capital increase, and syndicated loans from banks.

CPT plans to raise NT$40 billion (US$1.17 billion) next year for its panel business deployment. The company will carry out cash capital increase projects, seek syndicated loans, and issue US$250 million worth of exchangeable corporate bonds abroad and GDRs to get the needed funds.

CPT said that it plans to expand the production at both its 4.5th- and sixth-generation panel plants in Taiwan and install new production lines for plasma display panel (PDP) TV panels next year. The scheduled NT$40 billion (US$1.17 billion) capital expenditure for next year would be a record high figure of its kind for the firm.

Quanta Display, a subsidiary of Quanta Computer Inc., a leading contract notebook PC maker, said that it aims to raise NT$40 billion to NT$50 billion (US$1.17 billion to US$1.47 billion) in funds next year for the construction of a sixth-generation panel facility in Taiwan. The firm plans to invest about NT$70 billion to NT$80 billion (US$2.05 billion to US$2.35 billion) in the sixth-generation panel plant, which is scheduled to begin construction in the first quarter next year, by issuing GDRs, floating new shares for capital increment, applying for syndicated loans and getting capital injection from its parent company etc.

AUO successfully won a syndicated loan of NT$35 billion (US$1.03 billion) from a banking consortium this year. The company claimed that it has readied sufficient money for the scheduled NT$50 billion to NT$80 billion (US$1.47 billion to US$2.35 billion) annual expenditure next year on its fifth- and sixth-generation panel facilities, but it will not rule out raising the needed capital for its scheduled seventh-generation facility in advance next year.

For its fifth- and 5.5th-generation panel facilities, CMO is scheduled to have capital expenses of about NT$40 billion to NT$45 billion (US$1.17 billion to US$1.32 billion) next year. The panel maker said that it has fully prepared the needed money for next year's expenses and has no urgent projects for further capital raising.
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