Tingyi Delays Plan to Increase Prices for Container Noodles

Tingyi (Caymen Islands) Holding Corp., China’s biggest maker of packaged food, said it will delay raising prices for some of its instant noodles as a newspaper reported it discussed the plan with the government.

The company said today it will delay increasing instant-noodle prices starting April 1 as previously announced due to stabilizing raw material costs and because the decision is “in alignment with the policy of the State for maintaining the stability of commodity prices.” The 21st Century Business Herald reported today that Tingyi held off on raising prices after discussing the issue with China’s top economic planner.

Premier Wen Jiabao targeted inflation, which has exceeded government targets for eight consecutive months, as China’s top economic priority this year amid concerns that rising food and home prices may cause social unrest. State broadcaster China National Radio reported March 29 that the National Development and Reform Commission would investigate plans by Tingyi and Unilever NV to raise prices.

Tingyi’s shares fell 3.4 percent in Hong Kong trading to HK$19.02, the biggest decline since November. The city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 0.3 percent.

The company will “closely monitor” raw material prices and changes in the market environment and will re-assess raising prices for its cup noodles at “an appropriate” time, Tingyi said today in a statement to Hong Kong’s stock exchange today. Plans to raise the retail prices for Tingyi’s cup noodles by about 14 percent were announced March 21.

Frank Lin, chief financial officer for Tingyi, declined further comment when reached by telephone today. Calls to Unilever’s office in Shanghai seeking comment weren’t immediately answered.

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