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Taiwan firms plan $4.5 bn China project despite ban
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Aug 18, 2011

A group of Taiwan firms have signed a contract to set up a $4.5-billion refinery complex in China, defying a ban against such projects imposed by the island's government, officials and media said Thursday.

The group, led by Ho Tung Chemical, inked the investment agreement with the government of southeast China's Fujian province and with Sinopec, China's biggest petrochemical group, in Beijing on Tuesday.

The agreement was signed after Taiwan's government, citing environmental considerations, rejected a similar, controversial $20 billion project for a giant refinery and petrochemical complex in western Taiwan.

"Since the project has hit a snag, the government must find a way out for local petrochemical companies, or the companies will gradually disappear," Ho Tung founder Chen Wu-hsiung told the Taipei-based Economic Daily News.

Local companies are still barred from investing in China's refinery industry and some high-tech sectors despite eased tensions following the election of Beijing-friendly politician Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan president in 2008.

The planned venture, based in Fujian, will have capacity to refine an annual 16 million tonnes of oil and 1.2 million tonnes of ethylene, a key organic compound widely used in industry.

A Taiwan-based complex of this type has been under consideration since the 1990s but has had its location changed several times due to strong objections from local residents and environmentalists.

Activists insist that Taiwan, long plagued by industrial pollution, can no longer afford such large energy-guzzling projects and have staged a string of street protests against the proposal.

In response, Taiwan's economic ministry reiterated the government's ban on investment in refineries on the mainland by Taiwanese investors.

"The ministry is reviewing the ban, but before that can be done, the ban still stands," the ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan and the Chinese mainland split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

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Coca-Cola to invest $4 billion in China
Shanghai (AFP) Aug 18, 2011 - American soft drinks giant Coca-Cola said Thursday it will invest $4 billion in China over the next three years, as it deepens its expansion into the world's second largest economy.

The huge investment, starting from 2012, will follow an estimated spend of more than $3 billion in the three years to the end of 2011, the world's biggest soft drinks maker said in a statement.

Coca-Cola's growth in emerging markets has helped it weather the weak US economy.

Chairman and chief executive Kent Muhtar said China was one of the biggest growth markets for the company.

Sales volumes have doubled over the last five years, spurred by strong demand for Coca-Cola brand and Minute Maid Pulpy, China's most popular juice brand, he said in the statement.

In an interview with the official Xinhua news agency, Muhtar said he believed China, currently the company's third biggest market following the United States and Mexico, would eventually become its largest global market.

Coca-Cola would be interested in listing on the planned international board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, he added.

"It will be a mutually beneficial action if we are listed," he said during a visit to Shanghai.

China has said it would allow foreign companies to sell shares on the domestic stock market as part of efforts to build Shanghai into an international financial hub, but it has yet to unveil detailed regulations.

Coca-Cola operates more than 40 plants in China, employing more than 48,000 people, it said in the statement.

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China's CITIC Securities plans Hong Kong share sale
Hong Kong (AFP) Aug 17, 2011
Citic Securities, China's biggest listed brokerage, is planning to raise about US$1.5 billion in a Hong Kong share sale with a flotation of its shares as early as September, a report said Wednesday. The firm will seek approval later this month for a listing in the southern Chinese city, Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing unnamed sources. The Financial Times said the brokerage, which is ... read more

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