Kumho Petrochemical chairman takes win over nephew at shareholders' meeting
Kumho Petrochemical Chairman Park Chan-koo claimed victory at the company's general shareholders' meeting Friday as the National Pension Service (NPS) and individual shareholders sided with him over his nephew Park Chul-whan.
Park Chan-koo and the management's recommendation of paying out dividends of 10,000 won ($8) per share and appointing Park Sang-soo, honorary professor at Kyung Hee University, and Park Young-woo, a committee member of Korea Green Foundation, as the company's external directors were approved by the shareholders Friday.
The dividend plan won 68.6 percent of some 17 million votes cast in the meeting while the external director plan won 71 percent of its vote.
Park Chul-whan, nephew of Park Chan-koo and the biggest individual shareholder of the Korean petrochemical company with 8.58 percent stake, has been suggesting an agenda of his own, claiming protection of shareholders' value.
His suggestion, however, which was paying out dividends of 14,900 won per share, was only able to get 31.9 percent of the vote. His recommendations for external director and audit committee members were also turned down.
Chairman Park and his allies account for 14.92 percent of the company stake, including his own stake — 6.73 percent — and the stake of his offspring.
The stake of his nephew and his allies come to 10.22 percent.
The NPS, which holds 6.82 percent stake of the petrochemical company, is expected to have played a major role in bringing victory to Chairman Park.
It sided with the chairman, claiming the amount of the dividend suggested by the management was "more suitable" considering the company's mid- to long-term investment plan compared to the one suggested by the nephew.
Kumho Petrochemical's all-time high earnings last year is also expected to have contributed to winning the votes from individual shareholders.
Park Chul-whan, a former senior vice president at Kumho Petrochemical, had made a suggestion similar to his most recent one at the shareholders' meeting last year but lost. He was then fired from his executive post for not being "loyal" to the company.
"I'm sorry for not being able to pull off a victory today," said Park Chul-whan on Friday after the shareholders' meeting.
"I will continue to suggest a 30 percent increase in dividends. I hope the company's pledge of buying back 150 billion won worth of its own shares will be realized within this year instead of next year at the last minute before the shareholders' meeting."
Kumho Petrochemical said "the management feud has been settled" after the shareholders' meeting Friday and that the result reflects the "shareholders' hope for the company's improved earnings and value."
BY JIN EUN-SOO [email@example.com]