First day of trading closes at $1.81

TAIPEI — China Television Co, (CTV) has become the first among Taiwan’s four terrestrial TV networks to go public as the company’s stock began trading on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Aug. 9.

Prior to opening for trade on the TSE, CTV released 20 million shares, or 6.7%, of its stock to the public.

Share value

CTV shares, which debuted at NT$54 ($1.70), closed their first day of trading at $1.81 on sales of 1.43 million shares. The stock has subsequently traded above $1.88.

About 70% of CTV’s shares are controlled by government organizations and large companies (virtually all of which are state-run organizations). Among the largest holders are companies controlled by the Nationalist Party (Kuomingtang). The 70% includes 58% controlled by members of the board of directors and supervisors of CTV, almost all of whom have close links to the government (former officials, retired military officers, etc.).

A recent survey carried out by ACNielsen revealed that CTV held a considerable edge in primetime over its rivals — Taiwan Television Enterprise, Chinese Television System and Formosa Television.

Data compiled from other sources shows that CTV generated 20% of all revenues from advertising in 1998, compared with 19% each by Taiwan Television and Chinese Television, and 5.9% by Formosa.

After-tax profit

CTV reported an after-tax profit of $19.2 million on revenues of $160.3 million in 1998, resulting in earnings per share of 6¢. For this year, the company projects an after-tax profit of $21.7 million on revenues of $160.3 million.

At present, 90% of CTV’s revenues come from advertising, but the company intends to diversify revenues through investment in the DVD industry and in fixed-line communication.

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