The Ministry of Economic Affairs on Thursday asked Tatung Co (大同) to submit the minutes of a controversial shareholders’ meeting within five days as a dispute over the legality of its board election on Tuesday raged on.
Tatung has applied to the ministry to register its new board members, but the ministry cannot decide whether to approve it, as the company did not provide the minutes of the meeting, Department of Commerce Director-General May Lee (李鎂) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
The ministry on Thursday told Tatung to submit supplementary documents within five days or the ministry would return its application, Lee said.
Tatung could apply again, but it is supposed to complete the registration within 15 days after the board election, she said.
Shanyuan Group (三圓建設) chairman Wang Kuang-hsiang (王光祥), who leads a group of minority shareholders, on Thursday urged the ministry not to approve Tatung’s application, saying the company breached the rights of 27 shareholders by depriving them of their voting rights.
Given the controversy over the board election, the ministry would ask for the opinions of Tatung’s management, minority shareholders and other governing agencies, such as the Financial Supervisory Commission, Lee said.
If the ministry decides not to approve Tatung’s registration list, it would order the company to hold another election, she said.
If Tatung refuses to do so within a given period, its board of directors shall be discharged as their term has exceeded three years, according to Article 195 of the Company Act (公司法), Lee said.
“We will address the matter cautiously, as some issues are unprecedented, such as the company canceling the voting rights of dozens of shareholders who together own more than a 50 percent stake,” Lee said.
While Wang’s lawyer, Chuang Cheng (莊正), on Tuesday said that shareholders would apply to the ministry to hold a special shareholders’ meeting to defend their rights, Lee said the ministry has not received their application.
Three of Tatung’s shareholders, which also are subsidiaries of Shanyuan Group, applied to the ministry to hold a special meeting to elect new board members as they did not agree with the firm’s decision not to distribute any cash dividend, but the ministry rejected their application, saying it was not necessary, Lee said.
“This time, we will review the case more thoroughly,” she said.
“While Tatung claimed some shareholders used money from other Chinese investors to buy Tatung shares, no shareholder would admit that,” Lee said.
If shareholders holding a combined 50 percent stake for more than three months plan to hold a special meeting, they could convene a meeting without the ministry’s approval, she added.
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