Green Cross fails in bid to sway drug company

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Green Cross fails in bid to sway drug company

A week after the nation’s 68 biggest companies including Samsung Electronics held their shareholders’ meetings, more than 400 smaller groups including SK, Lotte, CJ and Kia Motors met on Friday.

Ildong Pharmaceuticals was among those that attracted the most attention because of an anticipated conflict over management rights between Ildong, the majority shareholder, and Green Cross, the second-largest shareholder. However, the meeting ended without any surprising changes.

One of the issues highlighted was who the company will appoint as outside directors. Green Cross recommended two candidates for the two posts, but foreign investors including the third-largest shareholder Fidelity voted for the two candidates recommended by Ildong.

There have been conflicts between Ildong and Green Cross since the second-largest shareholder acquired an additional 12.14 percent stake in January to bring its total shares to 29.3 percent. Ildong, which owns 32.5 percent, saw the move as a hostile takeover attempt by Green Cross.

Also at the meeting, Ildong Chairman Lee Jung-chi, 73, was reselected as the chief and will begin his fifth term.

Yuhan Corporation, the nation’s No. 1 pharmaceutical company, selected its Vice Chairman Lee Jung-hee as the new CEO in its meeting on Friday.

In the shareholders’ meeting for Kia Motors, outside director Kim won-jun kept his post although the company’s second-largest shareholder, National Pension Service (NPS), opposed his reappointment. The NPS, which owns a 7 percent stake in the nation’s second-largest automaker, has consistently opposed Hyundai Motor Group affiliates’ appointment of outside directors, saying that most of those selected have failed to supervise the group’s business activities.

One of the biggest reasons was Hyundai Motor Group’s 10 trillion won investment to buy land owned by Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) in Samseong-dong. In the bidding, Samsung Group, which was considered its biggest rival, bid 5 trillion won, while Hyundai, which wants to develop a new business hub in the area, bid nearly double that of Samsung.

In the shareholders’ meeting of CJ Group affiliates, Chairman Lee Jay-hyun’s term as internal director for CJ Korea Express and CJ Olive Networks ended. Lee was convicted of a financial crime and is currently hospitalized for a health issue. His term as an internal director at CJ E&M ended in March but he is still an internal director for CJ CheilJedang until next March.

“He will step down from all such director positions if he doesn’t get released before next year,” a CJ spokesman said.

BY KWON SANG-SOO, PARK SU-RYON [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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