October 16, 2008 / 1:52 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Taiwan's 3rd richest man, petrochem giant, dies

(Adds details, company confirmation)

TAIPEI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Wang Yung-ching, Taiwan’s third richest man and the founder of one of its biggest industry groups, Formosa Plastics, has died, a spokesman at one of the group’s companies said on Thursday.

Wang was 91, said a spokesman at Formosa Petrochemical (6505.TW), a unit of Formosa Plastics Group. He could not provide further details, but local media reported that Wang died in New York of heart disease.

In addition to Formosa Petrochemical, Wang’s group is also parent of several other major publicly traded petrochemical companies, including Formosa Plastics Corp (1301.TW) and Nan Ya Plastics (1303.TW).

Forbes listed Wang as the world’s 178th richest man and the third richest in Taiwan, with an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion.

It said Wang, born in Taiwan when the island was still a Japanese colony, started Formosa Plastics in 1954 with his brother, and built it into a top Asian petrochemical giant.

Known later in life for his interest in improving relations with China, Wang had 10 children. He retired from his day to day roles in the company in 2006.

Shares of Formosa Petrochemical, Formosa Plastics and Nan Ya Plastics were all down about 3.4 percent, amid a broader market sell-off that saw the main TAIEX shares index .TWII drop 3.3 percent.

Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Jonathan Hopfner

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