Protecting shareholders is taking on a new meaning

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Protecting shareholders is taking on a new meaning

More Korean companies are ramping up virus prevention measures for their upcoming shareholder meetings by adopting electronic voting to join the country’s efforts to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Of the some 2,300 listed firms here, a total of 314 companies, including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, will hold shareholder meetings this week amid concerns of Covid-19 infections.

Korea has so far reported more than 8,200 coronavirus cases.

According to a recent survey from the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 24 percent of the surveyed 302 listed firms answered that they are worried about virus infections at their shareholder meetings.

Local firms said they are preparing various measures to protect their shareholders from the contagious disease, while following the country’s social distancing campaign, which advises people to avoid mass gatherings.

SK Telecom said its shareholder meeting on March 26 will be broadcast live online, allowing shareholders to take part in the annual gathering from their homes.

The shareholders of Korea’s top mobile carrier can submit their questions online and can receive an access code for the live broadcast, the company said.

Samsung Electronics said it has encouraged its shareholders to actively use e-voting, even though the company has prepared a 2,000-seat venue in Suwon, Gyeonggi, for its shareholder meeting Wednesday.

Companies like KT and Hyundai Engineering & Construction also have adopted an e-voting system for their upcoming shareholder meetings.

According to Korea Securities Depository, about 560 firms used e-voting systems for their shareholder meetings last year.

Industry observers said the number is expected to rise significantly this year following the novel coronavirus outbreak.

For people who are to physically attend shareholder meetings, firms said they will conduct fever checks and those showing symptoms of Covid-19 will not be allowed to enter the meeting venues.

The companies said they will also ask shareholders to wear face masks at all times and will widen the distance between seats.

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