Saturday, June 05, 2010

Kwok could control Chinatrust: report

Hong Kong investor Peter Kwok (郭炎) could become the largest shareholder of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) and ownership of Taiwan’s largest credit-card issuer could shift from the Koo family to the Kwok group if an equity offering currently under consideration were allowed to go through, a new report dated May 20 warns.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by the Taipei Times earlier this week, was prepared by the office of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) and raises serious questions about Kwok’s financial capabilities, his political allegiance and the origin of some of the money that would be used to finance his investment.

At present, the shareholder composition at Chinatrust is chairman Jeffrey Koo (辜濂松) at 7.28 percent (Koo family members hold an aggregate of about 20 percent); Morgan Stanley and other foreign companies at 43 percent; Cathay Life Insurance (國泰人壽), Far Glory Life Insurance Co (遠雄人壽), the Bureau of Labor Insurance and Fubon Life Insurance Co (富邦人壽) at between 1.04 percent and 1.42 percent each, the report says.

Following delays in capital collection, the board of directors at Chinatrust decided on May 17 to issue 2.5 billion shares through private placement at NT$16.45 per share, with a total value of NT$41.125 billion (US$1.28 billion), which will be submitted during a shareholders meeting scheduled for June 30.

This is the largest seasoned offering in the nation’s history.

This story, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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