Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Hochen Tan keeps chair at Chunghwa Telecom

STATUS QUO The ministerial representative kept his post at a board meeting yesterday, brushing off angry noises from the leading telecom operator's labor union

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation's biggest telecom operator, yesterday re-elected chairman Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) for a second term amid strong opposition from the company's labor union.

The result of the election was mostly in line with expectations of industry watchers. Chunghwa, though privatized in 2005, is still dominated by its biggest shareholder, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Hochen is one of the ministry's representatives on the board. The board yesterday also tapped current president Lu Shyue-ching (呂學錦) to remain at his post for another three years.

After a marathon discussion, shareholders yesterday re-elected the company's 13 board directors and three supervisors, despite a labor union attempt to disrupt the meeting.

The new board directors will also serve a three-year term.

The labor union has called for Hochen to step down, accusing him of forcing 1,600 employees to accept an early retirement program by the end of the year and of illegally extending working hours.

Shareholders also approved a payout proposal of a cash dividend of NT$3.58 per common share for last year and a 10 percent stock dividend.

Chunghwa Telecom posted a 6 percent decline in earnings for last year to NT$44.88 billion, or NT$4.63 a share, from the year before. The phone company has more than 8 million mobile subscribers; 1.52 million are 3G users.

A proposed 9-percent reduction in capital, which would equal the number of new shares issued to pay for the stock dividend, was also passed during the meeting.

Shareholders also approved a NT$1.26 billion employee bonus for last year and a NT$35.9 million bonus for the board.

Shares of Chunghwa Telecom advanced 1.13 percent to NT$62.6 yesterday, compared with a 1.45 percent gain for the broader market.

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