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Asia Pacific Telecom shares still surging on merger hopes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Swelled by the new development of its upcoming acquisition bid by prospective buyers, Asia Pacific Telecom (APT, 亞太) shares rallied dramatically during yesterday's trading, gaining NT$0.65, or 3.78 percent, to close at NT$17.85, with intraday volume reaching 54.6 million shares.

The company intends to raise NT$14.412 billion in new capital by issuing 826 million shares at NT$17.44 per share, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海) rumored to express its resolve in acquiring APT by offering a more generous NT$19 per share for the purchase at a 9-percent premium. Following its issue, the batch of new shares will represent a 20-percent portion of total APT shares in circulation, of which Hon Hai intends to take 70 to 80 percent. Hon Hai also reportedly expressed its willingness to take on APT ownership stakes currently held by state-run enterprises and government-affiliated companies including the Taiwan Railways Administration (台鐵), which holds a 12-percent stake.

Both companies declined to comment on details of the acquisition yesterday.

In addition, shortly after yesterday's opening bell, APT shares yesterday surged to the intraday high of NT$18.20. Profit-taking sell orders commenced in force early in the morning session.

In addition to Hon Hai subsidiary Ambit Microsystems Co. (國碁電子), APT's other prospective suitors include the Taiwan Star Cellular Co. (台灣之星), a subsidiary backed by the Ting Hsin International Group (頂新), and SBI, a South Korean venture capital company.

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