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Economy

Profits hit record high in 2014

TAIPEI -- Pretax profits in Taiwan's financial industry reached a record high of 502.2 billion New Taiwan dollars ($15.7 billion) last year, an official said Tuesday.

William Tseng

     Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman William Tseng said his agency estimates the industry, which includes banking, insurance and brokerage businesses, could grow between 5% and 10% this year.

     Tseng said the banking sector's overall profitability will also grow in 2015, as the return on assets ratio is expected to rise from 0.8% in 2014 to 1% and the return on equity ratio from 13% to 15% this year.

     "The banking sector's ROA and ROE both are expected to hit historic highs this year as we continue to loosen regulations, while the macroeconomic conditions appears to be good," Tseng told reporters in Taipei.

     To boost the local financial industry, Tseng said a key initiative for his commission this year is to help Taiwanese financial corporations acquire companies across the region.

     The official said authorities will consider new measures to assist major companies after they submit outlines for upcoming acquisition targets for the government's reference later this year.

     Cathay Financial Holdings, the largest Taiwanese financial holdings company by market cap, announced on Monday it is acquiring a 40% stake in Indonesia's Bank Mayapada for 3.52 trillion rupiah ($280 million).

     Another notable successful deal last year was CTBC Financial Holdings' takeover of Japan's second-tier lender Tokyo Star Bank.

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