TSMC Denies Rumors About Chairman’s Health After Shares Plunge

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (2330) said its 82-year-old chairman is in “perfect” health and that rumors to the contrary causing its stock to tumble are malicious.

Morris Chang, chairman of the world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors, will speak before a gathering of university presidents in the southern Taiwan city of Tainan today, a signal of his health, Elizabeth Sun, a company spokeswoman, said by phone. Shares tumbled 2.9 percent, the most since July 19, by the 1:30 p.m. market close in Taipei.

“There were rumors in the market today, saying Morris Chang is critically ill, causing the stock to fall,” Joe Lai, an analyst at Jih Sun Securities Co., said by phone in Taipei.

Chang stepped down as chief executive officer of TSMC in November after the board approved a succession plan installing Mark Liu and Wei Che-chia as company co-presidents and as co-CEOs. Chang said at an investor conference in October that he would continue to have a “hands-on” role as chairman of the company he helped found in 1987.

The market rumors probably aren’t true, Lai said, given Chang’s scheduled appearance today. The analyst rates the company a hold, saying there are investor concerns about its first-quarter performance.

David Yang, a spokesman at the Taiwan Stock Exchange, said by phone today he wasn’t aware of a probe into trading of TSMC. In case irregularities in stock price or volume are found, the exchange would ask the company for clarification, Yang said.

Taiwan’s benchmark Taiex (TWSE) index declined 0.5 percent at the market close.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yu-Huay Sun in Taipei at ysun7@bloomberg.net; Weiyi Lim in Singapore at wlim26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Patterson at mpatterson10@bloomberg.net

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