Taiwan Pulp and Paper Corp (TPPC, 台灣紙業) chairman Chien Hung-wen (簡鴻文) might relinquish his control of the company in exchange for the Ministry of Finance’s support for his chairmanship at Mega Securities Co (兆豐證券), the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported on Friday, citing sources at the ministry.
Chien, the focal point of an intensified boardroom row at the 70-year-old Tainan-based TPPC, filed a request with the ministry on Friday for permission to extend his tenure at the brokerage arm of state-run Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控), the Liberty Times said.
The ministry is a major shareholder of Mega Financial and has the power to appoint heads at the financial firm and its subsidiaries.
Chien turns 65 this year, the official retirement age at Mega Securities, the paper said.
The TPPC’s boardroom dispute between Chien and president Yu Mei-ling (余美玲) has escalated into a proxy fight, leaving investors concerned about corporate governance.
Chien’s request would be granted if he is willing to step down as TPPC chairman by the end of next month, the Liberty Times said.
The company is at risk of being delisted from the local bourse for breaching compliance rules; it faces a deadline next month for its board to recognize last year’s earnings results.
However, Yu said she had little confidence Chien would keep his promise to step down, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported on Saturday.
“Judging by Chien’s remarks and actions over the past few months, his attitude has continuously flip-flopped,” the paper quoted Yu as saying.
Board members siding with Yu have continued their efforts to solicit more proxy votes, seeking to oust Chien at an extraordinary meeting scheduled for March 13, the Economic Daily News said.
However, in a half-page advertisement that ran on Friday on the front page of several local newspapers, Chien asked shareholders to show support for him at an extraordinary meeting he has scheduled for March 31.
To attract participants to their rival meetings, the two sides have prepared souvenirs. Those attending the March 13 meeting will receive two tubes of lip balm, while those who attend the March 31 meeting are to receive a convenience store gift voucher worth NT$50, local media reports said.
Chien’s family holds a more than 20 percent stake in TPPC, which gives it two seats on the seven-member board.
He is also chairman of the Taiwan Securities Association (券商公會), which according to its Web site has a mission to protect the interests of stock investors and coordinate between the government and member companies.
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