Taiwan to sell off NT$5.5 bil. shares to fund annual budget

By Chinmei Sung, Bloomberg

Taiwan’s government plans to raise about NT$5.52 billion selling shares of China Steel Corp. and Central Reinsurance Co. The sale is to help fund the government’s budget for this year, a newspaper said yesterday. The Ministry of Finance is seeking an arranger to sell 97.9 million shares of the steelmaker and 45.6 million shares in the insurer in an after-market tender, according to a public auction notice on the government’s Web site dated Monday. The notice didn’t give a reason for the sale, or say how many shares the government will hold after completion.

The government will raise NT$4.79 billion from the sale of China Steel shares and NT$725 million through selling the insurer’s stock, based on the shares’ closing price yesterday.

The share sale is part of the government’s budget plan previously approved by lawmakers, the Taipei-based Economic Daily News reported, citing unidentified finance ministry officials.

The government is selling 0.85 percent of China Steel and will own 21.02 percent after the sale, Bloomberg Data showed. It will hold 14.6 percent of China Reinsurance after the sale of the 8.7 percent stake.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan-based China Steel is the island’s largest steelmaker. Taipei-based Central Reinsurance provides property and life insurance services to other insurers. Shares of China Steel rose 0.7 percent to close at NT$49.25 in Taipei, and Central Reinsurance added 1.9 percent to NT$16.20.

Taiwan will post a budget deficit this year of NT$142.3 billion, given government income forecast at NT$1.49 trillion, the island’s statistics bureau said in June.