Chartered Semi launches $634 million foray

Singapore Inc launches a massive capital markets exercise in its attempt to stay in the semiconductor major league.

One of the largest rights issues ever in Singapore was announced at the crack of dawn yesterday. Singapore- and Nasdaq-listed Chartered Semiconductor woke the market out of its Summer lethargy with the announcement of a $634 million deeply discounted rights issue.

The world's third largest semiconductor manufacturing foundry needs to raise the funds to stay in the game against its ultra-efficient competitors, TSMC and UMC of Taiwan. Both the Taiwanese companies have already started producing 12 inch 300mm wafers, double the size of the previous standard, and Chartered needs to catch-up.

The deep discount is a reference to the fact that existing shareholders are being asked to subscribe for new stock at a 52.4% discount...

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