The Taiwan High Court yesterday lent support to the validity of a 2005 agreement that required the Ministry of Finance to help Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金) win majority control of the board of state-run Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (CHB, 彰銀).
However, the ruling failed to put an end to the decade-long management rights dispute, as the ministry vowed to file an appeal and asked shareholders to rally behind government-backed candidates in a board election next month.
Taishin Financial welcomed the court’s decision and urged Premier Lin Chuan (林全) to intervene and help “deliver justice.”
“The contractual obligation exists as long as Taishin Financial remains the largest shareholder in CHB,” the court said in the ruling.
The ministry, which in 2005 sold a 22.5 percent stake in then-financially strained CHB to Taishin Financial for NT$36.5 billion (US$1.21 billion at the current exchange rate), should help the buyer win five of the nine board seats, the ruling said.
The ministry said it regretted the verdict, adding that it is no longer in a position to sway the election outcome because CHB’s capital structure has changed substantially.
Lung Yen Life Service Corp (龍巖集團), the nation’s top cemetery and funeral-service operator, has become the third-largest CHB shareholder with a 3.9 percent stake and has its eye on two board seats after aligning with the ministry.
CHB is to elect six board directors and three independent directors on June 16.
“The ruling fails to meet the principle of proportion now that the pan-government camp controls a larger stake than Taishin Financial does,” the ministry said in a lengthy protest.
The camp has nominated eight candidates.
No contract should last forever and the ministry had fulfilled its obligations by yielding management rights in CHB to Taishin Financial from 2005 through late 2014, when shareholders voted in favor of government-backed board candidates.
CHB’s finances have improved over the past three years and shareholders should support candidates who can better protect their interests, the ministry said.
Taishin Financial has riled the ministry with surprise attempts to acquire CHB and dilute the government’s holdings.
Taishin Financial called on the ministry and state funds to show respect for the ruling and quit buying authorization letters to thwart its efforts to regain control of CHB.
The ruling reaffirms the contractual relationship and the ministry should quit litigation and join forces with Taishin Financial to advance the interests of all shareholders, the company said.
The bank-focused conglomerate asked the premier — who oversaw the 2005 agreement as the then-minister of finance — to take action and rein in what it called unruly government-controlled stakes.
“It is time that the premier acted to remedy the mess after previously staying on the sidelines to avoid tilting the court’s decision,” Taishin Financial said.
More than 20,000 employees at Apple Inc supplier Foxconn Technology Group’s (富士康) huge Chinese plant, mostly new hires not yet working on production lines, have left, a Foxconn source familiar with the matter said yesterday. The departures from the world’s largest iPhone factory dealt a fresh blow to the Taiwanese company, which has been grappling with strict COVID-19 restrictions that have fueled worker discontent and disrupted production ahead of Christmas and January’s Lunar New Year holiday. Concerns are mounting over Apple’s ability to deliver products for the busy holiday period as the worker unrest lingers at the Zhengzhou plant, which produces the
FACTORY TUMULT: The departure of new workers impact production less than the quarantines imposed on existing employees, a worker at China’s ‘iPhone city’ said Turmoil at Apple Inc’s key manufacturing hub in Zhengzhou is likely to result in a production shortfall of almost 6 million iPhone Pro units this year, a person familiar with assembly operations said. The situation remains fluid at the plant and the estimate of lost production could change, the person said, asking not to be named discussing private information. Much depends on how quickly Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the Taiwanese company that operates the facility, can get people back to assembly lines after violent protests against COVID-19 restrictions. If lockdowns continue in the weeks ahead, production could be set further
’INHERENT VULNERABILITIES’: The country has been working with the US to build its own lithium and rare earth mines in a bid to curb China’s dominance in the market Australia is vowing more assertive scrutiny of foreign investments in key commodities tied to electric vehicles and clean energy, in a potential warning to China which dominates the market. Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers has asked the country’s Treasury to work with the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and other stakeholders to undertake a review of foreign investment in sectors such as lithium and rare earths, he told a conference in Sydney yesterday. “We’ll need to be more assertive about encouraging investment that clearly aligns with our national interest in the longer term,” Chalmers said. Although Chalmers did not directly identify China investment as
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) founder Jack Ma (馬雲) has been living in Tokyo for almost six months after disappearing from public view following China’s crackdown on the tech sector, the Financial Times reported yesterday, citing multiple unnamed sources. The billionaire has kept a low profile since the crackdown, which has included Chinese regulators scrapping the initial public offering of Ma’s Ant Group Co (螞蟻集團) and issuing Alibaba with record fines. However, the Times said he has spent much of the past six months with his family in Tokyo and other parts of Japan, along with visits to the US and Israel. The