Fri, Jun 19, 2015 - Page 14 News List

Far EasTone move prompts speculation over succession plan

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

People stand next to a display of Apple Watches at an Apple store in New York City on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (遠傳電信) shareholders yesterday gave a seat on the firm’s board of directors to company chairman Douglas Hsu’s (徐旭東) son Douglas Jefferson Hsu (徐國安), prompting renewed speculation about a succession plan.

Speculation on potential succession has arisen at shareholders’ meetings of locally listed firms as a number of company bosses are approaching retirement.

The elder Hsu, 74, played down the speculation.

“He carries the family name, but that does not mean there is an arrangement,” Hsu told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

Douglas Jefferson Hsu joined his father in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, an annual telecommunications industry meeting, his first appearance at the event, triggering speculation that he might be a potential candidate to take over as chairman.

Douglas Jefferson Hsu is a head innovation official with Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), which operates a wide range of businesses from banking and shipping to cement manufacturing. He is also vice president of U-Ming Marine Transport Corp (裕民航運).

The elder Hsu said talks over a potential merger-and-acquisition deal with local 4G service provider Taiwan Star Cellular Corp (台灣之星) and cable-television operator China Network Systems Co (中嘉網路) had become “lukewarm,” but did not elaborate.

Far EasTone is the only telecoms operator among the nation’s “big three” that does not own a cable television operator.

The company also said it will stick to its original plan to expand its 4G users to 3 million by the end of this year after launching the service last summer.

Shareholders of the nation’s No. 3 telecoms operator, approved a proposal to distribute a cash dividend of NT$3.75 per common share. That represented a 5.28 percent dividend yield, compared with the stock’s closing price of NT$71.

Far EasTone said that Apple Inc’s Apple Watch will hit store shelves on Friday next week at its electronic retailing subsidiary Data Express Infotech Co (德誼數位科技).

The company said 10 local stores are authorized to sell Apple Watches, with four of them being Data Express outlets.

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