A final decision regarding a possible sale of the Ting Hsin International Group’s stake in Taiwanese 4G operator Taiwan Star Cellular is expected within a month, according to Focus Taiwan, which cites Cliff Lai, the latter company’s president.
CommsUpdate reported earlier this month that local multi-service operator Far EasTone Telecommunications had emerged as the frontrunner to buy Taiwan Star; with the takeover having been valued at around TWD18 billion (USD572 million), Far EasTone was said to have outbid Chunghwa Telecom, Apple Inc supplier Hon Hai Precision and an unidentified Japanese company in February’s first round of bidding.
Ting Hsin’s decision to divest its holding in Taiwan Star has been prompted by an edible oil scandal that began late last year. With the group’s subsidiaries having been found to have sold cooking oils containing ingredients unfit for human consumption, condemnation of the conglomerate’s business practices has made it harder for it to get credit and affected its cash flow. As such, it has come under pressure to sell of its stakes in both Taiwan Star and the Taipei 101 skyscraper.
Despite the uncertainty over Ting Hsin’s stake, Mr Lai has meanwhile said that Taiwan Star’s top priority remains the strengthening of its operations and improvements to its services in the nascent but highly competitive 4G sector.