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ChiMei Lighting operations crippled

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- High-level executives of ChiMei Lighting Technology Corp. (奇力光電) are reported to have quit en masse, leaving behind US$1.87 million in debt and worrying employees and a banking syndicate about what will come next.

ChiMei Lighting Technology (CMLT) — a joint venture of ChiMei Optoelectronics (CMO,群創光電) and ChiMei Corp. (奇美實業) established on Sept. 18, 2006 — was said to have made history in Taiwan's business world with the “exodus” of its members of board and management since late July.

The same thing also happened with a CMLT subsidiary in Foshan City of China's Guangdong province. There is speculation that the hollowing out of executives and management was brought on by the company's huge losses.

CMO is now the world's third largest flat-panel manufacturer, while ChiMei Corp. is the largest maker of ABS resin in the world, producing about 1 million tons of ABS annually.

CMLT's banking syndicate on Tuesday urged fiscal responsibility of CMO and ChiMei Corp., or else the syndicate could only appeal for bankruptcy and auction CMLT's equipment and related assets to minimize losses, according to the China Times.

CMO and ChiMei Corp. yesterday started playing the blame game, although both expressed regret over the situation. CMLT hasn't gone public in Taiwan's stock market; however the potential loss of the banking syndicate could amount to US$187 million, or NT$5.6 billion.

According to local media, CMLT has a total of 18 bank creditors including First Bank, Chang Hwa Bank, Hua Nan Bank, Taiwan Bank, Shi Kong Bank, Land Bank and Mega International Commercial Bank.

CMLT's employees still show up for work every day, although emptiness in the executive offices has crippled the company's operation and products shipments.

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