Tatung Co (大同) shareholders, including top executives, yesterday voted down three proposals by minority shareholders to remove three independent directors, thwarting plans to dissolve an audit committee and elect a new board of directors.
Some shareholders had said retaining the current board could make it difficult for the company to revamp its business, as a string of scandals, corporate losses and delisting of some subsidiaries drew criticism from not only shareholders, but also financial regulators.
“Tatung has not distributed a cash dividend in 18 years. The board of directors should step down and be responsible for the company’s net losses of NT$33.29 billion [US$1.06 billion] for last year, as three of its subsidiaries were delisted, in addition to embezzlement by former chairman Lin Wei-shan (林蔚山),” Vivian Tsai (蔡玉真), a Tatung shareholder and a media personality, told reporters after the company’s annual general meeting in Taipei.
The company said removing the directors would harm its corporate image and that it is improper to blame them for the company’s losses.
Reporters were not allowed into the meeting, which was live-streamed on social media.
The delisting of Tatung’s three subsidiaries was a painful process, but the company is restructuring its business and aims to make improvements, it said.
Minority shareholders led by Shanyuan Group (三圓建設) chairman Wang Kuang-hsiang (王光祥) — who proposed removing independent directors Wu Chi-ming (吳啟銘), Liu Tsung-te (劉宗德) and Su Peng-fei (蘇鵬飛) — own about 20 percent of the shares, while chairwoman Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) and her allies hold about 10 percent, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reported.
At one point in the meeting, tensions broke out when chairwoman Lin Kuo Wen-yen announced the voting time for each proposal would be two minutes but some shareholders requested the voting time to be five minutes. It then resulted in clashes between some shareholders and the company's security guards before Lin Kuo agreeing to three minutes for the voting time.
The three proposals were approved by 48.5 percent of shareholders in attendance on average, just shy of the 50 percent threshold, while 23.7 percent disapproved and 27.8 percent waived their votes.
The meeting was attended by 95.4 percent of shareholders.
Some shareholders asked for a recount and threatened to take legal action against the management, Tsai said.
Other proposals, such as revising the procedures for acquisition and disposal of assets as well as those for guarantees and lending, were also rejected, Tsai said.
Shareholders only approved the company’s financial statement and a plan to write down last year’s losses with a 53.48 percent majority, she said.
Lin Kuo Wen-yen said she regretted that the revision proposal, which was put forward under instructions from the Financial Supervisory Commission, did not win shareholders’ approval.
The company would appoint external experts to conduct an independent investigation over the qualifications of the three directors, she said.
Late last night, Tatung said in a statement that it would lodge legal actions against those who deliberately broke company equipment and clashed with company employees and security guards during the meeting.
Revenue last month fell 51.39 percent annually to NT$2.62 billion, with cumulative revenue for the first five months retreating 50.13 percent to NT$13.56 billion, from NT$27.2 billion a year earlier.
Tatung shares yesterday closed down 1.2 percent at NT$20.55 in Taipei.
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