Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) will review the initial public offering (IPO) carried out by Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC) in Singapore this past May in order to determine whether the operator violated the Cable Radio and Television Act. According to the Taipei Times, local press reports have claimed that TBC may have exploited a loophole through the IPO in order to help attract funds from Chinese investors, a move which in turn has been claimed could undermine Taiwan’s national security. It is understood that NCC chief secretary Wong Po-tsung has said that the IPO should have been reviewed and approved by the Commission before it was held, and the regulator is reportedly planning to pose a number of questions regarding the offering to TBC’s management.
Commenting on the matter, NCC specialist Chan Yi-lien was cited as saying: ‘We discovered that TBC did not seek approval from the Investment Commission before launching its IPO, so we asked the Investment Commission to look into the matter.’ The offering itself was launched in Singapore under the name Asian Pay Television Trust, using funding from Singapore-listed Macquarie International Infrastructure Fund and Macquarie Korea Opportunities Fund, which are run by the Macquarie Group. Subsequently, on 22 May 2013 Taiwan’s Investment Commission asked TBC about changes in the company’s investment structure and investors’ rights after the IPO was held, but it did not receive a full answer until 1 August, according to the NCC. Andy Hsieh, director of the NCC’s communication management department, has confirmed that the case will now be reviewed for compliance with the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals and the Cable Radio and Television Act. ‘The statute requires investors to secure the approval of administrative authorities if they invest in businesses that allow restrictive investment from foreign investors,’ Hsieh noted.
For its part, TBC has reportedly issued a statement saying that Asian Pay Television Trust has made it clear when the IPO was launched that Chinese investors were not permitted to purchase shares in the Taiwanese cable operator.