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Hanaro chief resigns over conflict

LG steps up bid to take control  PLAY AUDIO

Mar 29,2003
Shin Yun-sik has stepped down as chairman of Hanaro Telecom Co., opening the way for LG Group ― the largest shareholder in Korea’s second-largest high-speed Internet provider ― to take control. The announcement at yesterday’s shareholders’ meeting also paved the way for LG to become one of the major players in the telecommunications industry, following giants KT Corp. and SK Telecom. “I would like to resign because I believe arising conflicts among shareholders over my serving another term do not benefit the company,” Mr. Shin said. Mr. Shin, who served as a government deputy information minister for two years until 1990, joined Hanaro when it was founded in 1997 as the second local fixed-line operator. After managing Hanaro over the past six years, Mr. Shin was attempting to extend his term as chairman, but faced strong opposition from the LG Group, which owns 15.9 percent of the firm. Despite being the largest shareholder, LG has yet to take control of Hanaro in part becasue of Mr. Shin’s firm grip on the company, and because of challenges by other large shareholders, such as Samsung (which owns 8.5 percent), and SK (5.5 percent). Three other executives, including vice president Lee In-haeng, will temporarily manage the firm. At yesterday’s Hanaro meeting, shareholders voted against a plan to revise corporate by-laws to add international and long-distance domestic calls to the firm’s business portfolio. Meanwhile, at KTF Co.’s shareholders’ meeting yesterday, Korea’s second-largest mobile operator announced a plan to repurchase 100 billion won ($79 million) worth of its own shares. “We plan to buy back our shares to expand benefits for shareholders,” Nam Joong-soo, the company president, said. Details of the plan will be decided at the future board of directors’ meeting. “We aim to lower our debt-to-equity ratio, which was 213 percent at the end of last year, to below 100 percent by 2006,” Mr. Nam added. The company nominated Kim Myung-ja, the former minister of environment, as a new outside director. At yesterday’s shareholders’ meeting of Namo Interactive Inc., a Kosdaq-listed software maker mired in a managerial battle, the current management and shareholders engaged in physical conflict. When Park Heung-ho, the company’s president, passed its financial statement ignoring requests from shareholders to vote on his performance, they lept to the podium and tried to assault him. Mr. Park fled under the protection of guards. But shareholders who held 31.4 percent of the firm resumed the meeting and nominated five new directors. by Business Reporting Team


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