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Property magnet to buy Eastern Broadcasting

2017/11/03 15:11:30

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) A Taiwanese property magnet-led investment firm has agreed to buy Eastern Broadcasting Co. (東森電視), one of the leading cable TV stations in Taiwan.

In a statement released on Thursday, Eastern Media International Corp. (東森國際), which holds a 21.32 percent stake in the cable TV station, said it and other shareholders, including U.S-based private equity fund the Carlyle Group, will sell all their stake in Eastern Broadcasting for about NT$17 billion (US$563 million) to Mao Te International Investment Co. (茂德國際投資) owned by property developer Chang Kao-shiang (張高祥).

In addition to the 21.32 percent stake held by Eastern Media, which operates TV shopping channels and other retail businesses in Taiwan, Carlyle owns a 62 percent stake in Eastern Broadcasting, while minority shareholders own the remaining 16.68 percent.

Data compiled by the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs shows that Chang established the investment firm in New Taipei in August and that it has mainly invested in the property market and traded in building materials in Taiwan.

Local media reported on Friday that although Chang is a low profile property developer, he owns assets worth about NT$100 billion. In recent years, he has also benefited from the sale of large-scale residential property projects in the Xinzhuang and Banqiao districts of New Taipei, the most populous city in Taiwan.

In the statement, Eastern Media Chairman Liao Shang-wen (廖尚文) said the sale is expected to be completed by the end of November, and the company will book the profit from the disposal that month.

Liao said the disposal of the stake is expected to help the company make up its net losses for the first half of the year. According to Liao, the sale is expected to rake in about NT$3.06 billion in profit or about NT$4.4 in earnings per share for Eastern Media.

In the first half of this year, Eastern Media posted a net loss of NT$129 million or NT$0.19 per share. The company is expected to report an additional NT$10 million in losses for the third quarter.

Liao said the proceeds from the sale are expected to boost Eastern Media's book value per share to more than NT$10 from NT$6.51 as of the end of June.

Due to an improving bottom line, Eastern Media said the company expects to issue dividends to shareholders for its 2017 earnings.

Shares in Eastern Media gained 10 percent, the maximum daily increase, to close at NT$10.10 on the main board on Friday.

(By Esme Jiang, Wei Shu and Frances Huang)
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